Grammatical development in second languages: Exploring the boundaries of Processability Theory

Edited by Camilla Bettoni and Bruno Di Biase

Eurosla Monograph Series, 3 (2015). Amsterdam: The European Second Language Association.
ISBN: 978-1-329-42765-5

Processability Theory is Manfred Pienemann’s highly cited psycholinguistic theory of Second Language Acquisition offering a transitional paradigm that accounts specifically for the development of grammar in the learner. This volume expands on PT’s explicit (falsifiable) and universal definition of developmental stages, and proposes (a) fresh interpretations of earlier achievements; (b) explicit treatment of the development of syntax and its interface with discourse-pragmatic motivations – a rarely explained aspect of L2 development; and (c) numerous pointers for future studies.
The first part of the volume introduces the editors’ new version of the theory. In the second part this pays back handsomely in terms of reconceptualising the staging of L2 development with reference to three languages covering a good chunk of typological space between them: English, a configurational, subject prominent language; Italian, a null-SUBJ head-marking language; and Japanese, a zero-anaphora, dependent-marking language, which is both subject and topic prominent. The following chapters in the third part explore languages (e.g., Russian), issues (e.g., Spanish differential object marking), populations (e.g., L2 in autistic learners), and applications (e.g., L2 teaching through CALL) not previously treated in PT.
Tight editorial work, however, ensures that all the chapters contribute coherently to the editors’ new approach to PT. In all – an exciting reading for postgraduate students and researchers of SLA as well as language teachers and learners.


Camilla Bettoni and Bruno Di Biase

Part I
Introducing and developing Processability Theory
Camilla Bettoni and Bruno Di Biase

Processability Theory: theoretical bases and universal schedules
Camilla Bettoni and Bruno Di Biase

Part II
The developmental path across languages
Camilla Bettoni and Bruno Di Biase

The development of English as a second language
Bruno Di Biase, Satomi Kawaguchi and Yumiko Yamaguchi

The development of Italian as a second language
Bruno Di Biase and Camilla Bettoni

The development of Japanese as a second language
Satomi Kawaguchi

Part III
Exploring new issues
Camilla Bettoni and Bruno Di Biase

Acquiring case marking in Russian as a second language: an exploratory study on subject and object
Daniele Artoni and Marco Magnani

The development of case in a bilingual context: Serbian in Australia
Bruno Di Biase, Camilla Bettoni and Lucija Medojević

Exploring the acquisition of differential object marking (DOM) in Spanish as a second language
Bruno Di Biase and Barbara Hinger

The development of constituent questions in Italian as a second language
Camilla Bettoni and Giorgia Ginelli

Acquiring V2 in declarative sentences and constituent questions in German as a second language
Louise Jansen and Bruno Di Biase

Exploring Processability Theory-based hypotheses in the second language acquisition of a child with autism spectrum disorder
Tonya G. Agostini and Catherine T. Best

Connecting CALL and second language development: online tandem learning of Japanese
Satomi Kawaguchi


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© Eurosla & the Authors 2015. Published under the Creative Commons “Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives 3.0” license