The field of L2 research—as well as L2 instruction—has long debated the roles of explicit and implicit learning. In particular, the fundamental question has been to what extent adult SLA is implicit in nature and whether explicit learning plays any role in how adults’ internal linguistic systems develop. In this talk, I take a linguistic-theoretical approach to this question harking back to Schwartz (1993) and argue that explicit learning has no fundamental or secondary role in adult SLA, at least not as conceived by its proponents on both the research and instructional side of things. My argument centers on the idea that learners cannot explicitly learn rules because there are no rules (in the classic sense) to learn. This talk is not language specific and has relevance for the learning and teaching of all languages.
*The Washington University Foreign Language Learning Colloquium Speaker Series is sponsored by the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures; the Department of Psychology; the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures; the Department of Jewish, Islamic and Near Eastern Languages and Cultures; the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, the Department of Education, and the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.