Linguistics and Second Language Acquisition. a Review

Book Review of:

Vivian Cook. 1993.
Linguistics and Second Language Acquisition
New York: St. Martin`s Press
(word count: 1518 )

Cook’s work Linguistics and Second Language Acquisition (hereafter LASLA) intends to inform people concerned with language teaching about second language (L2) learning research. Throughout the course of the book, Cook enables the reader to take a close look inside the process of language learning without commending on specific teaching methods. Apart from this, he points out some of the places where research contradicts standard language teaching beliefs. It shows the increase in SLA research within a Universal Grammar (UG) framework. Cook develops his arguments starting from particular aspects of language to more general points.
In chapter 1 Cook makes clear that he focuses on linguistics and SLA, not on psycholinguistics, sociolinguistics, or language teaching. However, he refers to works in those areas. In my opinion, this is one of the real strengths of this text: Cook does never lose sight of his domain of coverage, but by citing works outside that domain he shows a breadth and enables the reader to see beyond this area. Afterwards, Cook goes on to comment on early works of relevance to SLA research, mentioning the work of Weinreich on interlanguage and approximative systems.
Chapter 2 deals with sequences in SLA, and discusses both the morpheme studies and later studies of negation. The treatment of morpheme studies is excellent, especially the discussion of their many problems. Cook makes an important methodological point in noting that most of the morpheme studies were not really cross-sectional, but rather what he calls single-moment studies. One of the helpful features introduced in this chapter and used throughout is boxed research summaries of major articles. Cook summarises some of the major studies discussed in detail in each chapter, giving the aim, subjects, focus, type of data, method of analysis, and results,...