Revitalization of Emergentism in SLA: A Panacea!

Nima Shakouri Masouleh


Emergentists claim learning takes place by extracting regularities from the input. By the same token, Ellis (1998) disputed the view held by generative linguistics that such a complex phenomenon as language can only be learnt if it is assumed that humans are endowed genetically with a language specific learning device. Emergentists, as O’Grady (2003) reports, claim simple learning mechanisms are sufficient to bring about the emergence of complex language representations. Nevertheless, this perspective toward learning has so far failed to take into account how language competence could emerge (O’Grady, 2003). The following paper is an attempt to elucidate the theoretical assumptions behind emergentism.




emergentism, reductionism, unpredictability

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