Published online by Cambridge University Press: 10 June 2021
Language processing and acquisition bring together many essential aspects of the person – neurological, cognitive, psychological, social, and so on. Exceptional L2 users seem to bring these together in an optimal balance, yet they take nothing for granted. They continually re-assess progress toward stated goals, and continually adapt – cognitively, metacognitively, emotionally, and behaviorally. These complementary puzzle pieces are rarely conjoined in GLL research.
What we think of as giftedness in second language likely represents a complex interaction between higher-order processes, flexibility, creativity, and domain-specific commitment and perseverance. These ideas align with recent shifts in SLA toward a more holistic understanding of individual differences. A more well-rounded view of the gifted L2 learner can shape various research agendas going forward.
With this in mind, we summarize sticking points in the theory, and provide specific empirical recommendations for future research concerning aptitude, personality, and the all-important factor of experience as it reflects deep engagement.