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ALERTNESS, ORIENTATION, AND DETECTION

The Conceptualization of Attentional Functions in SLA

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  25 September 2001

Daphnée Simard
Affiliation:
Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières
Wynne Wong
Affiliation:
The Ohio State University

Abstract

This paper critically examines Tomlin and Villa's (1994) fine-grained analysis of attention and Leow's (1998) attempt to operationalize their model. Our position is that whereas Tomlin and Villa have moved the attention research forward by describing the nature of attentional processes and by pointing out that detection is a critical function of SLA, their claim that alertness and orientation are not necessary for detection to occur is currently unsupportable and does not reflect the complex nature of SLA. We argue that Leow's efforts to provide empirical support for this model fall short of that goal. Additionally, we cast doubt on Tomlin and Villa's position that awareness is not required for the detection of L2 data by arguing that the issue of awareness as well as the role of attentional functions must be viewed from a more interactive perspective in terms of the nature of the task, the nature of the linguistic item, and individual learner differences. We conclude by proposing research orientations that may help advance the discussion on this topic.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
2001 Cambridge University Press

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