This book marks a new development in the field of second language acquisition research. It explores the way in which language processing mechanisms shape the course of language development. "Language Processing and Second Language Development" thus adds one major psychological component to the search for a theory of second language acquisition. The core of the book is Pienemann's Processability Theory which spells out which second language forms are processable at which developmental stage. The theory is based on recent research into language processing and is formalised within Lexical-Functional Grammar. The predictions of the theory are applied to the second language development of English, German, Japanese and Swedish. The theory is also tested in on-line experiments. In addition, Processability Theory has major implications for interlanguage variation (including task variation) and age-related differences in language acquisition. All of these issues are explored from a processing perspective with theoretical and empirical rigor.
1. Acknowledgements; 2. Preface: A brief overview; 3. Explanatory issues in SLA; 4. Language processing and language acquisition; 5. Processing procedures and the development of grammar; 6. Empirical and theoretical issues in processability theory; 7. Cross-linguistic validity and on-line evidence; 8. Hypothesis space; 9. Epilogue; 10. Notes; 11. References; 12. Author Index; 13. Subject Index