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A critical appraisal of the CDST approach to investigating linguistic complexity in L2 writing development

Book Contribution - Chapter

This chapter aims to help the complex dynamic systems theory (CDST) approach to second language acquisition (SLA) reach its full potential by critically appraising current applications of this approach to complexity in L2 writing development. To further this end, we first review five representative empirical CDST-inspired studies on complexity in L2 writing. Second, we contrastively analyze a dataset of beginning L2 writing productions from both a “traditional” and a CDST perspective. Several issues central to a CDST approach are discussed, including the link between CDST concepts and research methods, the emphasis on variation and variability as a window on and a driver of L2 development, the generalizability of findings, anti-reductionism, and the treatment of measurement noise as important information about L2 development. We identify challenges for applying CDST concepts and methods to L2 (writing) development, illustrate how researchers try to come to grips with these challenges, and offer suggestions for addressing them.
Book: Complex Dynamic Systems Theory and L2 Writing
Pages: 209
Number of pages: 42
Publication year:2020
Keywords:Second Language Acquisition, writing development, Complexity, Dynamic systems theory
  • Scopus Id: 85091298971
  • ORCID: /0000-0003-2761-9455/work/82811362