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VILLA : Varieties of Initial Learners in Language Acquisition : controlled classroom input and elementary forms of linguistic organisation

Projet l’ANR - ORA (Open Research Area in Europe) (2011-2013)
Responsables : Marzena Watorek et Rebekah Rast (France, UMR 7023), Christine Dimroth (Allemagne, Université d’Osnabrück) & Marianne Starren (Pays-Bas, Université de Nijmegen), site www du projet



2011 – 2013

Watorek et Rast (France)/ Dimroth (German) / Starren (Netherlands)

Site www du projet

Varieties of Initial Learners in Language Acquisition : controlled classroom input and elementary forms of linguistic organisation (VILLA)

The global objective of the project is to provide a precise description of the input processing of a novel language by adult learners under controlled conditions. We expect the results of this project to lend themselves not only to the theorization of current questions concerning L2 acquisition, but also to a reflection on the practical implications of this empirical investigation. With regard to the theorization of our results, we hope to inform the debate about the available initial state knowledge that learners can use when processing input upon first contact with a new language.

The L2 initial state is the subject of much debate, in particular in generative-theory based research. Our study, conducted within a functional approach, will allow us to engage in this debate from a different perspective. Studying the acquisition of a new language by adults, starting from “zero” knowledge, poses a problem in L3 acquisition. In today’s society, when adult learners come to the acquisition process, they are generally already familiar with at least one foreign language, usually English. Our study allows for a deeper investigation into the role of other L2 knowledge in the appropriation of an L3.

With regard to the practical impact of our project, our results will contribute to discussions about the elaboration of methods used for teaching foreign languages. Currently, the question of the relation between acquisition research and language pedagogy is often posed : What can help a learner appropriate a foreign language ? What methodological procedures are most effective for language teaching ? These questions are complex and are the subject of much disagreement.

This project proposes to address such questions from two angles. On one hand, we wish to know what the learner actually does with the specific content of a language lesson, that is, the linguistic input of the instruction. On the other hand, we wish to know what effect the manner in which this linguistic input is presented has on the learner’s performance. These observations will include all levels of analysis that learners rely on to process the foreign language input : phonological, lexical, morpho-syntactic, and pragmatic.


Description du projet

Objectifs scientifiques, description du projet (pdf) site du projet

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