Reader's Forum: Linguistic and contextual factors that affect Japanese readers of EFL

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David Penner

By exploring the linguistic and contextual factors that cause problems for Japanese readers of EFL, this essay adds support to the sociocontextualists’ side of the ongoing debate regarding the scope of SLA research – that is, should SLA research be limited to the study of language use or should it include language-learning in context? In support of a more global approach, linguistic factors and contextual factors that cause Japanese readers difficulty are explored, including differences in orthography, morphology, orthographic depth, and phrasal structure, as well as ethnocentric influences, enculturated writing patterns, non-motivating classrooms, and enculturated learning strategies. Since Japanese readers are affected, not only by linguistic factors, but social factors as well, both linguistic and contextual factors should be considered when teaching and researching second language acquisition.