Although a growing number of second language acquisition (SLA) studies take linguistic complexity as a dependent variable, the term is still poorly defined and often used with different meanings, thus posing serious problems for research synthesis and knowledge accumulation. This article proposes a simple, coherent view of the construct, which is defined in a purely structural way, i.e. the complexity directly arising from the number of linguistic elements and their interrelationships. Issues of cognitive cost (difficulty) or developmental dynamics (acquisition) are explicitly excluded from this theoretical definition and its operationalization. The article discusses how the complexity of an interlanguage system can be assessed based on the limited samples SLA researchers usually work with. For the areas of morphology, syntax and the lexicon, some measures are proposed which are coherent with the purely structural view advocated, and issues related to their operationalization are critically scrutinized.

A simple view of linguistic complexity / Pallotti, Gabriele. - In: SECOND LANGUAGE RESEARCH. - ISSN 0267-6583. - STAMPA. - 31:1(2015), pp. 117-134. [10.1177/0267658314536435]

A simple view of linguistic complexity

PALLOTTI, Gabriele
2015

Abstract

Although a growing number of second language acquisition (SLA) studies take linguistic complexity as a dependent variable, the term is still poorly defined and often used with different meanings, thus posing serious problems for research synthesis and knowledge accumulation. This article proposes a simple, coherent view of the construct, which is defined in a purely structural way, i.e. the complexity directly arising from the number of linguistic elements and their interrelationships. Issues of cognitive cost (difficulty) or developmental dynamics (acquisition) are explicitly excluded from this theoretical definition and its operationalization. The article discusses how the complexity of an interlanguage system can be assessed based on the limited samples SLA researchers usually work with. For the areas of morphology, syntax and the lexicon, some measures are proposed which are coherent with the purely structural view advocated, and issues related to their operationalization are critically scrutinized.
2015
10-lug-2014
31
1
117
134
A simple view of linguistic complexity / Pallotti, Gabriele. - In: SECOND LANGUAGE RESEARCH. - ISSN 0267-6583. - STAMPA. - 31:1(2015), pp. 117-134. [10.1177/0267658314536435]
Pallotti, Gabriele
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11380/1061330
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