chapter  8
Trends III: the dynamic turn
Pages 19

As mentioned in the previous chapters, one of the great changes or trends in the last decades has been what is called “the social turn”, which reflects the awareness that language development is not a solitary cognitive activity but one that is embedded, connected and embodied. Though this social turn represented a significant shift in perspective, it was not what in Kuhnian terms would be called a paradigm shift. Even though some of the points of difference were difficult to incorporate into the status quo at the time, the field was flexible enough to adopt and integrate this new development. However, Complex Dynamic Systems Theory (CDST) is different. Many of the informants see CDST as the new paradigm that fills the gap left by formal linguistic models, the disembodied psycholinguistic approach and various theories that either look exclusively at the psycholinguistic side or at the sociolinguistic and sociocultural side only. This chapter is different from the other chapters on trends in that it is

more of my own voice than that of my informants that will be represented here. In this chapter it will be argued that the end of the period covered in this overview has seen the beginning of what is likely a real paradigm shift: the dynamic turn. I will argue that CDST does represent a paradigm shift and is relevant to many aspects of AL. I will also argue that the CDST perspective provides us with concepts and tools for various aspects of AL that other theories have not been able to deal with. The topics reflect my own interests and areas of expertise, and it is entirely possible that other areas could also benefit from a CDST approach. As Diane Larsen-Freeman (p.c.) suggests, CDST has been taken up in language planning and policy, instructional technology, English as a lingua franca, language awareness and teacher cognition, to name only some of the newer applications. In this chapter I will try to show that CDST is relevant for many aspects

of AL, with a focus on bilingual processing and code switching, variation in SLD and the role of motivation. First I will briefly sketch the development of CDST and its main components.