View Full Version : ESL Theories

31-Oct-2003, 02:39
Can you list the major theorist or theories of which an ESL teacher should know about, for example Chomsky?

Thanks for your help,


31-Oct-2003, 17:11
I'll ask our teachers to repond here ASAP. ;-)

31-Oct-2003, 21:21
Chomsky is one of the theorists of language, but he himself has stated that his ideas have little application in the classroom. However, I feel that his ideas are worth reading.

For language teaching theory, there are many, but I'll give you a few:
Communicative teaching- Candlin and Widdowson
Lexical- Michael Lewis
Syllabuses (functional\notional) Wilkins
I recommend Whorf highly, though many find his ideas controversial
For usage, I like Michael Swan
For computer based views of language the Cobuild and Longman teams have a lot to offer.

01-Nov-2003, 01:03
The subject you're referring to is known as Second Langauge Acquisition (SLA) and the best source to date is

ELLIS, R. 1985. Understanding Second Language Acquisition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

SLA Theories are divided into two major groups:

(environmental factors are believe to be more dominant in language acquisition)

- Bakhtin’s Theory of Polyphony or Dialogics

- Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development

- Skinner’s Verbal Behavior

- Piaget’s View of Language Acquisition

- The Competition Model

- Cognitive Theory: Language Acquisition View

- Discourse Theory

- The Speech Act Theory

- The Acculturation Model

- Accommodation Theory

- The Variable Competence

- The Interactionist View of Language Acquisition

- The Connectionist Model

(innate factors are believed to be more dominant in language acquisition)

- A Neurofunctional Theory of Language Acquisition
- The Universal Grammar Theory
- Fodor’s Modular Approach
- The Monitor Model

For a great overview go to



30-Aug-2006, 08:49
Hello, I'm a new member here so nice to meet everyone:)

I'm interested in SLA theories very much and I would apprieciate if you could tell me where to find information about Bakhtin's as well as Fodor's Theory. They are not quoted in e.g. Ellis (The Study of SLA) or other publications that I have access to.