The Multidimensional Model and the Teachability Hypothesis
A further model based on the type of research outlined in Chapter 2 was developed by a group that included Clahsen, Meisel, Pienemann, and Johnston, first in Germany and later in Australia. The most common name for its first version is the Multidimensional Model of Meisel, Clahsen, and Pienemann, (1981); the later version is often called the Teachability Hypothesis, after one of its main claims (Pienemann, 1989). The label ‘multidimensional’ reflects the central claim of the model that L2 acquisition has two sides: on the one hand there is a rigid developmental sequence for certain aspects of language that is unaffected by aspects of the learner or of the environment, on the other a variational sequence for other aspects of language which responds to differences in the learner or the situation. The developmental sequence is claimed to depend on general factors of language processing. The variational sequence is based on learner variables such as the extent to which the learners are integrated into the target culture. Thus the Multidimensional Model brings together two of the separate strands seen in Chapters 2 and 4: the common sequences of acquisition found in L2 learners and the variation between learners.
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