Second Language Acquisition: Introduction

  • William C. Ritchie


Though practical interest in the problems of second language acquisition and use has a lengthy history (see Kelly, 1969, for a survey), the emergence of an independent and identifiable body of “pure” theory and research in the area occurred only in the late 1960’s and early 70’s. Since that time research in the field has grown tremendously in both breadth and depth. A wide variety of cognitive and affective factors have been identified as conducive to or inhibitive of second language acquisition, the course of acquisition has been described (if not explained) in certain limited cases and compared with that of first language acquisition and to the pidginization of standard languages, and a variety of theories and insights - some of the latter quite genuine - have arisen.




  1. Chomsky, N., 1981, “Lectures on Government and Binding”, Foris Publications, Dordrecht, Holland. 472Google Scholar
  2. Kelly, L. B., 1969, “Twenty-five Centuries of Language Teaching”, Newbury House, Rowley, Mass.Google Scholar
  3. Krashen, S. D., 1973, Lateralization, language learning, and the critical period, Language Learning, 23: 63–74.Google Scholar
  4. Lenneberg, E. H., 1967, “Biological Foundations of Language”, John Wiley & Sons, New York.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • William C. Ritchie
    • 1
  1. 1.Syracuse UniversityUSA

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