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Literacy in a Second Language

  • William Grabe

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As literacy has emerged to become a major issue in the 1980s, and will continue to do so in the 1990s, the only sure claim to be made is that the notion of literacy is extremely complex and fraught with generally accepted “myths,” hidden assumptions, over-generalizations, and simple all-inclusive responses to the challenges presented. This scenario is no less appropriate to the second language learning context than it is to the first language learning context. Thus, any examination of second language literacy requires discussion of both first language and second perspectives. It is naive to assume that the difficulties, complexities, contradictions, and debates in first language literacy do not apply equally to the large majority of second language learning contexts. Accordingly, second language literacy will be discussed in light of first language perspectives on literacy, reading, and writing, expanding these perspectives into second language contexts. (It should be noted that two excellent reviews of reading and writing in a second language appeared in ARAL IX (Carrell 1989a, Hudelson 1989a). This review should be seen as complementary to these two earlier articles.)

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Literacy in a Second Language

  • William Grabe

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