Learning & Teaching Foreign Languages

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Gabriele Kasper

portrait de Gabriele Kasper

(Denmark/Germany/United States )

Gabriele Kasper, professor of second language studies at the University of Hawai'i, where she has taught since 1988, studied and taught SLA in Germany and Denmark.  Her research interests include interlanguage pragmatics, conversation analysis, and the social context of language acquisition and use.

In a long career spanning many developments in second language research, Kasper describes the articulation between cognitivist and (socio)constructivist positions thus:

Notwithstanding my interest in pragmatics, sociolinguistics, and discourse analysis, I am comfortable with an essentially cognitivist definition of SLA. This is because in the final analysis, learning or acquiring anything is about establishing new knowledge structures and making that knowledge available for effective and efficient use. Issues of knowledge representation, processing, and recall have to be central to any discipline that is concerned with learning.  A noncognitivist discipline that has learning as its central research object is a contradiction in terms.

[…] But this being said, there is a whole range of issues about SLA that cognitive theory does not tell us anything about.

[…] Language socialization theory has a particularly rich potential for SLA because it is inherently developmental and requires (rather than just allows) establishing links between culture, cognition, and language, between the macro- and the microlevel of discourse.

[…] If the excellent microanalytic tools of CA were incorporated into a language socialization approach to SLA, we might be able to reconstruct links between L2 discourse and the acquisition of different aspects of communicative competence that have been largely obscure thus far.

(Kasper, 1997)

Read more

Rose, K., & Kasper, G. (2001). Pragmatics in language teaching. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

Faerch, C., & Kasper, G. (1987). Introspection in second language research. Clevedon, Avon: Multilingual Matters Ltd.


  1. Kasper's University homepage
  2. Read more: SLA in social context

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