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The language learning potential of L2 writing: Looking back and moving forward in theory and research


Rosa M. Manchón

Universidad de Murcia



In this presentation I review theoretical perspectives and selected empirical studies on how and why L2 writing can be a site for language learning. This area of scholarly interest, a newcomer to language learning studies, has been characterized as “a well defined space for a future research domain at the intersection between L2 writing and SLA” (Manchón, 2011a: 62) whose key research preoccupation can be encapsulated in the following question: “Can the processes involved in writing –planning, composing, reflection, monitoring, retrieving knowledge, and processing feedback- promote L2 acquisition?” (Manchón & Williams, 2016: 569). After a brief account of the origins of research preoccupations in this domain, I synthesize the underpinning theoretical principles informing research centrally concerned with potential of writing and written corrective feedback (WCF) for language development, and I identify key theoretically-motivated empirical questions in the area. This is followed by a review of selected strands in SLA-oriented L2 writing studies that have addressed some of these empirical questions, including work conducted within a comprehensive program of research currently underway at the University of Murcia. In the final part of my talk I make suggestions for advancing future research agendas.

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