Foreign language learning theories: The “wastebasket” of psycholinguistics

Leila Najeh


Several inquiries are raised whenever foreign language learning   is broadly tackled: (i) why are foreign language learning   researches ongoing, numerous methods and approaches has been developed in less than one century, approximately between one and two methods each decade(Lopez,1990), (ii) Is this a syndrome of a chronic failure to elaborate an adequate approach that meets all needs?

For Davies (2007, p.66),   the history of foreign language learning is a history of method. Like fashion in dress/clothes, approaches in language teaching emerge and disappear, and if one looks far enough it recycles itself after a decent interval.

In point of view, this is due to the fact that    foreign language researchers should look for solutions for a ‘wastebasket’ full of many problems from the surrounding disciplines mainly psycholinguistics.


critical period theory, language anxiety, psycholinguistics, Pavlov’s stimulus response theory.

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