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The Ecology and Semiotics of Language Learning: A Sociocultural Perspective (Educational Linguistics) [Paperback]

Leo van Lier
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

July 20, 2004 1402079931 978-1402079931 2004

The ecological perspective on language and language education has in recent years become a major focus of interest in the fields of second language teaching and learning, and linguistics and education in general. This is the first book-length attempt to provide a comprehensive overview of an ecology of language learning, including both theoretical discussions on language, semiotics, emergence, and self, and the practical consequences of an ecological view for classroom work.

This book is of interest to all language educators, second and foreign language teachers and researchers, and other education professionals.


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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

The ecological perspective on language and language education has in recent years become a major focus of interest in the fields of second language teaching and learning, and linguistics and education in general. This is the first book-length attempt to provide a comprehensive overview of an ecology of language learning, including both theoretical discussions on language, semiotics, emergence, and self, and the practical consequences of an ecological view for classroom work. This book is of interest to all language educators, second and foreign language teachers and researchers, and other education professionals.


Product Details

  • Series: Educational Linguistics (Book 3)
  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Springer; 2004 edition (July 20, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1402079931
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402079931
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 6 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,021,099 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and flawed December 12, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
In this wandering and uneven book, Leo van Lier attempts to lay the foundation for an approach to language and language learning that breaks free of the impoverished computational metaphor (with its inputs, processing, and outputs) prevalent in much of cognitivist-inspired second language acquisition research, and offers a view of language that embeds it in human beings' relationships with each other and the world. Context doesn't merely provide a background to language and its learning, it defines and is defined by language. Language is not an object 'out there,' accumulated in bits and pieces according to a pre-set internal syllabus, but emerges in a unique way in each learner. The classroom is a partially chaotic, unpredictable social ecosystem subject to multiple influences and not genuinely researchable using the methods of natural science that require data reduction, context reduction, and complexity reduction to yield its results; and learners are whole people, not simply grammar production machines.

There are some stellar moments in this book, as when van Lier discusses the difference between standards and quality in education (establishing standards does not equal providing a quality education, and may militate against it), and his sowing and reaping metaphor for language education. Van Lier's insights can be stunning at times. However, his style is inconsistent - at times chatty and informal, giving the impression of a professor extemporizing before a class of students - and at others incomprehensively dense, such as the chapter on semiotics, where new concepts come thick and fast, and the reader needs to be familiar already with the writings of writers and philosophers such as Charles Sanders Pierce and Ludwig Wittgenstein in order to benefit.
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