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The Ecology and Semiotics of Language Learning: A Sociocultural Perspective (Educational Linguistics) by Leo van Lier (2007-10-24)

Book The Ecology and Semiotics of Language Learning: A Sociocultural Perspective (Educational Linguistics) by Leo van Lier (2007-10-24)

Book details

- By: Leo van Lier(Author)
- Language: Unknown
- Format: PDF - Djvu
- Pages:Unknown
- Publisher: Springer (1759)
- Bestsellers rank: 6
- Category: Other books
*An electronic version of a printed book that can be read on a computer or handheld device designed specifically for this purpose.
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  • By Alan Broomhead on December 12, 2012

    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. The book is poorly produced (diagrams are bad photocopies on which shading frequently obscures the text); and this is the worst-edited book I have ever read, filled with typos, incorrect page references and chapter headings, and formatting errors - a disappointment considering the price tag and the potential value of van Lier's ideas for those in the field of language teaching. If you can stay with the book though, it is enriching and thought-provoking.


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