Implicit and Explicit Knowledge in Second Language Learning, Testing and Teaching


Author: Rod Ellis, Shawn Loewen, Catherine Elder, Hayo Reinders, Rosemary Erlam, Jenefer Philp

Multilingual Matters, 2009

The implicit/ explicit distinction is central to our understanding of the nature of L2 acquisition. This book begins with an account of how this distinction applies to L2 learning, knowledge and instruction. It then reports a series of studies describing the development of a battery of tests providing relatively discrete measurements of L2 explicit/ implicit knowledge. These tests were then utilized to examine a number of key issues in SLA – the learning difficulty of different grammatical structures, the role of L2 implicit/ explicit knowledge in language proficiency, the relationship between learning experiences and learners’ language knowledge profiles, the metalinguistic knowledge of teacher trainees and the effects of different types of form-focused instruction on L2 acquisition.

The book concludes with a consideration of how the tests can be further developed and applied in the study of L2 acquisition.


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