Silence in Second Language Learning. Colette A. Granger (2004) [review]
Mrowa-Hopkins, Colette Marie
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A review of 'Silence in Second Language Learning' by Colette A. Granger published by Multilingual Matters LTD, Series: Second Language Acquisition 6 2004. ISBN 1-85359-697-3. The fundamental question that the author attempts to elucidate is: “What is the significance of silence in the process of learning to speak” (p. 5) in a second language? This puzzling question sits uneasily within the common sense view that speaking a language is helpful for learning it, and within the more theoretical view of the second language learning process as an apprenticeship into new discourse practices. This title may even seem unsettling, if not downright paradoxical, from a language pedagogy perspective entrenched in a Western tradition that requires classroom participants to engage in some kind of dialogic exchange. A further difficulty rests with the methodological issue of how to analyse the meaning of silence when the content is absent. Finally, one might question the usefulness of such an exploration. The author genuinely acknowledges these conflicting issues from the start and clearly states her intention to address them systematically. To this effect, she adopts a psychoanalytic theory as an interpretive framework for her study.