A Cognitive View on Interlanguage Variability

  • Jan H. Hulstijn
Part of the Topics in Language and Linguistics book series (TLLI)


In this chapter, I first examine Tarone’s sociolinguistic approach to the study of interlanguage (IL) variability. I focus on Tarone’s conception of the “vernacular style” as the speech style in which the speaker (L2 learner) pays least attention to language form. Tarone’s approach is then contrasted with a cognitive, information-processing view on IL variability. I try to demonstrate how the two approaches can be combined so as to provide a more fruitful basis for research on second-language acquisition (SLA) processes. I then describe a study of my own, to illustrate two methodological points in the empirical study of IL variability concerning (1) the usefulness of pretest procedures to increase the chances that L2 learners will in fact exhibit variability in their IL performance, and (2) the importance of making a conceptual and empirical distinction between “task” and “task requirements.”


Time Pressure Task Requirement Verb Final Speech Rate Information Unit 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jan H. Hulstijn
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Applied Linguistics, Faculty of LettersFree UniversityAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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