Great Expectations in Phonology? Second Language Acquisition Research and Its Relation to the Teaching of Older and Younger Learners

  • Martha Young-ScholtenEmail author
Part of the Educational Linguistics book series (EDUL, volume 16)


In 1985, Patsy Lightbown presented a set of generalizations based on research on the second language acquisition of morphosyntax regarding what teachers should be aware of. These “great expectations” give teachers the confidence to move away from an externally imposed grammar-translation-based syllabus to a learner-driven internal syllabus. In phonology, research since the 1970s points to the need to encourage teachers to develop great expectations for their learners’ acquisition of a new sound system. This is particularly true for young, prepuberty learners, but unlike in the acquisition of morphosyntax, these great expectations require teachers to think more seriously about the input their learners receive.


Great Expectation Syllable Structure Constraint Ranking Segmental Phonology Orthographic Input 
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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of English Literature, Language and LinguisticsNewcastle UniversityNewcastle upon TyneUK

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