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Second Language Reading from an Hegelian Perspective

  • Manfred Man-fat WuEmail author


Second language research has traditionally been characterized by the cognitive perspective which focuses on how the individual processes language. There has been an emerging trend over the past few decades on taking into consideration the social influences on second language learning based on diverse theoretical frameworks. Research on second language reading is no exception. Hegel points out the unique features of publicity, persistence over time, resistance to negation, universality and objectivity of the written form. These features enable the written form to perform some social and collective functions such as cultural preservation and enforcement of contracts that cannot be replaced by the spoken form. Hegel’s philosophy also suggests that reading in a second language is qualitatively different from reading in a first language, and second language reading is an enculturation process. Hegel’s accounts on these three aspects of second language reading provide new insights to both theories and practice of the teaching of second language reading.


Hegel Second language acquisition L2 reading Critical literacy Enculturation Universalization 



The author would like to thank the anonymous reviewers for their helpful and constructive comments that greatly contributed to the final version of the paper and the editors for the support during the review process.

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Conflict of interest

I declare that I am the only author of this manuscript and I have no potential conflicts of interest to declare. This manuscript is my original work and it is not being considered for publication elsewhere.

Research Involving Human Participants and/or Animals

This research did not involve human participants and/or animals.

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research OfficeThe Open University of Hong KongHo Man TinHong Kong

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