Language Learning Environments: Spatial Perspectives on SLA

Author: Phil Benson

Related Formats:
Paperback, Ebook(PDF), Ebook(EPUB)
Multilingual Matters
Number of pages:
234mm x 156mm
Available (recent release)
Price: £89.95
Price: $129.95
Price: €109.95

This book is the first in-depth examination of the application of theories of space to issues of second language learning. The author introduces the work of key thinkers on the theory of space and place and the relevance of their ideas to second language acquisition (SLA). He also outlines a new conceptual framework and set of terms for researching SLA that centre on the idea of 'language learning environments'. The book considers the spatial contexts in which language learning takes place and investigates how these spatial contexts are transformed into individualised language learning environments, as learners engage with a range of human and nonhuman, and physical and nonphysical, resources in their daily lives. Revisiting linguistics and language learning theory from a spatial perspective, the book demonstrates that the question of where people learn languages is equally as important as that of how they do so. This work is essential reading for any researcher wishing to research the role of the environment as an active player in SLA.

There are those rare works that challenge and transform your thinking about the world and our place in it – this is one of those amazing books. Benson manages to call into question many assumptions and blind spots within SLA and creates new vistas for comprehending the composition and conceptualisation of language learning environments. This truly is an erudite and transformational read.

Sarah Mercer, University of Graz, Austria

Benson offers us a fascinating account, contrasting a linguistic view of language as comprised of self-contained objects in space with an integrated environmental view of language as space. Where second language learning takes place makes a difference – an important lesson for SLA researchers to heed. Be prepared to have your mind stretched. Mine was.

Diane Larsen-Freeman, Professor Emerita, University of Michigan, USA

In this book, Phil Benson takes us on a stimulating journey through the spatial dimensions of language, language learning, linguistics and second language acquisition research. In the process we view language learning environments through a range of transdisciplinary lenses, including spatial theory, globalisation, and multilingualism. A valuable contribution to scholarship on the spatial turn in applied linguistics!

Terry Lamb, University of Westminster, UK

Phil Benson is Professor of Applied Linguistics and Director of the Multilingualism Research Centre at Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia. He has authored and edited several books spanning his research interests of second language acquisition, autonomy, language learning beyond the classroom and narrative enquiry.


1. The Where of Second Language Learning

2. Theories of Space

3. Linguistics and the Spatiality of Language

4. Language-Bearing Assemblages

5. Language Learning Environments

6. Space in SLA Research


Postgraduate, Research / Professional
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