HomeTime and language development: Pedagogical and practical considerations

HomeTime and language development: Pedagogical and practical considerations

Time and language development: Pedagogical and practical considerations

Le paramètre temporel dans le développement langagier : implications didactiques et pédagogiques

LIDIL numéro 66

*  *  *

Published on Tuesday, February 16, 2021


This issue of LIDIL intends to questioning how the temporal parameter was, is and will be taken into account in the literature of the field. The focus here is in teacher-fronted, institutional settings, where language development is situated in two respects.


Guest Editors

  • José AGUILAR, Sorbonne Nouvelle University, DILTEC – EA 2288
  • Cédric BRUDERMANN, Sorbonne University, CELISO – EA 7332
  • Alice BURROWS, Sorbonne Nouvelle University, DILTEC – EA 2288
  • Pascale TREVISIOL, Sorbonne Nouvelle University, DILTEC – EA 2288


As early as 1997, Bailly reported on a difference between, on the one hand, institutional didactics, which is to be found in the content and performance standards, the national curriculum textbooks and the teacher professional development programmes and, on the other hand, research programmes in applied linguistics, which give rise to the publication of theses and articles. This development has led to consider issues relating to language education and acquisition from different angles. This is particularly the case for the time parameter.

On the one hand, institutional language teaching (Lefranc, 2008) tends to consider time as a methodological measurement tool that is embodied today in language policy tools such as the CEFR, but also in official guidelines to support teaching and / or learning in institutional settings such as primary or secondary schools. In these frameworks, the time parameter is used to account for the number of hours it takes to reach a given language proficiency level (cf. ALTE repository, for example (North, 2007)) and the hour estimates provided are generally fairly precise, regardless of the source / target language pairs. This contradicts with the literature of the field, which highlights that language proficiency development is impossible to deal with only in terms of intended instructional time spent by students in formal classroom settings (Taillefer, 2014, §15). From this perspective, the relationship between “amount of time during which learners receive instruction from a classroom teacher in a formal context” and “language development” is viewed from a utilitarian, programmatic and ideological perspective.

As far as the academic literature in applied linguistics and second language acquisition (SLA) is concerned, the results tend to show, on the contrary, that “additional language” (Narcy-Combes et coll., 2020) proficiency development is unpredictable and can possibly extend over either short or prolonged time spans (Verspoor et coll., 2017)4, depending on the individuals, in particular because learning would depend on different variables, such as the learners’ individual differences (Robinson, 2002), the specific ways in which notions and concepts are encoded in a given language, the typological characteristics and language-specific forms of the languages in contact, but also the effects of language instructional mode on student proficiency development (Watorek et coll., 2017).

It follows from this paradigmatic dichotomy (Whyte, 2020) that there are obvious discrepancies between the recommendations listed in the content and performance standards “learning plateaus” (Flynn & O’Neil, 1988) and cycles (Ellis, 2008). and the findings brought forward in SLA research, “the CEFR levels having no basis in SLA theory or research” (Véronique, 2005, p. 11, our translation). It follows that, at the interface between the government efforts to normalize an organisational temporality and the temporal relativity which characterizes the human experience and shapes language development, the temporal parameter entails epistemological implications that have not been sufficiently questioned to date in the field of applied linguistics (Castellotti, 2017).

This issue intends to help partially bridge this gap by questioning how the temporal parameter was, is and will be taken into account in the literature of the field. The focus here is in teacher-fronted, institutional settings, where language development is situated in two respects5. Taking into account SLA research results, as well as research findings in psycholinguistics and related fields – in particular as regards chronology and temporality (Siyanova‐Chanturia & Spina, 2020) – this issue aims to address questions which fall under three levels where the influence of the time parameter seems particularly salient:

  1. At the level of the learner, the articles could for instance address the following questions: is the duration of exposure to input or to learning in a guided environment likely to interact or be influenced by learner-specific variables such as age, cognitive ability, language repertoire, personality or prior language learning experiences? Can a correlation be established between duration of exposure to input / learning time and knowledge transfer to long-term memory? How does mental rehearsal and / or subsequent retrieval and reuse of given learning objects constitute (or not) levers for learning? How do the a.synchronous working modalities made possible through theexpanded use of technology make it possible to offer training courses adjusted to the learners’ “individual differences”6 (Robinson, 2002), which are “unfair” (Skehan, 1989) and would explain why some learners “continue to make progress and eventually reach very good language proficiency levels, [while] other learners apparently fail to make any progress, despite the amount of instructional time they receive, or their active use of languages in given communication situations” (Gaonac’h, 2006, p. 65, our translation).
  2. As regards the relationship between pedagogical guidance and language development in institutional settings (Watorek et coll., 2017), the proposals may seek to analyse the relationship between teaching professionals’ instructional practices and student achievement: do these mediators carry (un)conscious expectations as regards student achievement over given learning periods of time? Are they aware of any adaptation of their pedagogical practice to help learners reach more or less dense / varied learning objectives, depending on how they perceive learners’ length of exposure to the target language (measurable in days, months, years, etc.)? Are teaching professionals aware of the influence the institutional time frame can have on their own teaching practices? Are there any specific pedagogical interventions and practices or specific periods of exposure and / or target language uses (Ellis, 2008) that have the potential to foster second language acquisition within a given time frame? Is it necessary to adapt thepedagogical interventions and practices considering that most learners have already had first second language learning experiences in guided environments in which temporality was an organizing variable and consequently acted as an “organizing circumstance” (Spear & Mocker, 1984)? To what extent does the relationship between learning progressions and teaching sequences coincide (or not) as regards the length of exposure to the target language?
  3. As far as educational policies are concerned, authors may question the national and continental issues linked to the unification of learning time frames. What roles should be assigned to common evaluation practices which seek to foster the emergence of a“learning time type of pragmatics”? What does this temporality presuppose in relation to language scales and standards such as the CEFR descriptors (Council of Europe, 2001, 2018)? What are the links between public policies investing in language education (OFII, UPE2A, French as a language of integration and Insertion, etc.) and the language study-time estimations they provide? What pedagogical and practical consequences should be drawn when the predicted language outcomes are not in line with the anticipated study-time estimations?

In light of these few non-exhaustive avenues for reflection, this issue intends to collect contributions based on field data and leading to concrete practical and pedagogical implications as regards additional language teaching and learning and language development. Authors are particularly encouraged to make praxeological recommendations on practical (choice of content topics, organisation, deconstruction, presentation) and pedagogical aspects (mediation practices, attention to intra/ inter-personal dimensions and to individual differences). Likewise, we also encourage prospective authors to suggest areas of future research and to address research openings which could help structure a roadmap for the coming years and highlight what language learning and teaching could look like in the future.

Submission guidelines

  • Deadline for submissions of abstracts (3 pages): 30th March 2021

  • Notification of acceptance or rejection of submissions: 5th June 2021
  • Deadline for submission of full articles: 5th July 2021
  • Reviewers’ comments: 15th December 2021
  • Anticipated date of publication: December 2022

Abstracts and papers should be sent to the following addresses: jose.aguilarrio@sorbonne-nouvelle.fr cedric.brudermann@sorbonne-universite.fr alice-helene.burrows@sorbonne-nouvelle.fr pascale.trevisiol@sorbonne-nouvelle.fr

Abstract submissions should not exceed three pages (including bibliography); In no case should full papers exceed 40,000 characters (including spaces);

Articles may be written in French, English or Spanish. The final version of the article must include a summary in English and a summary in the language of the article. If the article is written in English, then the other summary will be in French. The same guidelines apply for keywords.

The stylesheet and instructions for authors can be found online.


BAILLY, Danielle. (1997). Didactique de l’anglais (1) - Objectifs et contenus de l’enseignement. Paris : Nathan.

CARROL, John B. (1981). Twenty-five years of research on foreign language aptitude. In K. C Diller (ed.), Individual differences and universals in language learning aptitude (83-118). Rowley, MA : Newbury House.

CASTELLOTTI, Véronique. (2017). Pour une didactique de l’appropriation. Paris : Didier.

CONSEIL  DE  L’EUROPE.  (2001).  Un  Cadre  Européen  de  Référence  pour  les  Langues : Apprendre, Enseigner, Évaluer. Strasbourg : Division des Politiques Linguistiques.

CONSEIL DE L’EUROPE. (2018). Cadre Européen Commun de Référence pour les Langues : Apprendre, Enseigner, Évaluer. Volume complémentaire avec de nouveaux descripteurs (Conseil de l’Europe).

ELLIS, Nick C. (2008). The Dynamics of Second Language Emergence: Cycles of Language Use, Language Change, and Language Acquisition. The Modern Language Journal, 92(2), 232-249. <https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-4781.2008.00716.x>.

FLYNN, Suzanne et O’NEIL, Wayne. (1988). Linguistic theory in second language acquisition. Dordrecth : Kluwer Academic Publishers.

GAONAC’H, Daniel. (1987), Théories d’apprentissage et acquisition d’une langue étrangère. Paris : Hatier-Crédif, Coll. LAL

GARDNER, Howard. (2002). On the Three Faces of Intelligence. Daedalus, 131(1), 139-142. Disponible en ligne sur <http://www.jstor.org/stable/20027746> (consulté le 3-02-2021).

LEFRANC, Yannick. (2008). La didactique (institutionnelle) des langues : Une domestication participative. Raison présente, 167(1), 87-98. <https://doi.org/10.3406/raipr.2008.4109>.

NARCY-COMBES, Marie-Françoise, NARCY-COMBES, Jean-Paul, MCALLISTER, Julie, LECLERE, Malory & MIRAS, Grégory. (2020). Language Learning and Teaching in a Multilingual World. Bristol : Multilingual Matters.

NORTH, Brian. (2007). The CEFR Illustrative Descriptor Scales. The Modern Language Journal, 91(4), 656-659. <https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-4781.2007.00627_3.x>.

OXFORD, Rebecca L. & EHRMAN, Madeline E. (1995). Adults’ language learning strategies in an intensive foreign language program in the United States. System, 23(3), 359-386. <https://doi.org/10.1016/0346-251X(95)00023-D>.

PERDUE, Clive. (dir.) (1993). Adult language acquisition: cross-linguistic perspectives. Vol. II: The Results. Cambridge : Cambridge University Press.

PIENEMANN,  Manfred.  (1989).  Is  language  teachable?  Applied  linguistics,  10(1),  52-79. <https://doi.org/10.1093/applin/10.1.52>.

ROBINSON, Peter. (2002). Individual Differences and Instructed Language Learning. Londres : John Benjamins Publishing.

SIYANOVA-CHANTURIA, Anna & SPINA, Stefania. (2020). Multi‐Word Expressions in Second Language Writing: A Large‐Scale Longitudinal Learner Corpus Study. Language Learning, 70(2), 420-463. <https://doi.org/10.1111/lang.12383>.

SKEHAN, Peter. (1989). Individual differences in second language learning. London : Edward Arnold.

SPEAR, George E.  & MOCKER,  Donald W. (1984).  The Organizing Circumstance: Environmental Determinants in Self-Directed Learning. Adult Education Quarterly, 35(1), 1-10 <https://doi.org/10.1177/0001848184035001001>.

TAILLEFER, Gail.  (2021).  Éditorial.  Les dossiers des sciences de l’éducation, 32. <https://doi.org/10.4000/dse.640>.

VERONIQUE, Georges Daniel. (2005). Les interrelations entre la recherche sur l’acquisition du français langue étrangère et la didactique du français langue étrangère. AILE, 23, 9-41. <https://doi.org/10.4000/aile.1707>.

VERSPOOR, Marjolijn, LOWIE, Wander, CHAN, Hui Ping & VAHTRICK, Louisa. (2017). Linguistic complexity in second language development: variability and variation at advanced stages, Recherches en didactique des langues et des cultures, 14(1). <https://doi.org/10.4000/rdlc.1450>.

WATOREK, Marzena, RAST, Rebekah, DURAND, Marie, DIMROTH, Christine & STARREN, Marianne. (2017). L’influence du type d’enseignement sur l’appropriation de la morphologie au début de l’apprentissage d’une langue étrangère. Le Français Dans Le Monde – Recherches et Applications, 61, 47-61.

WHYTE, Shona. (2020). Moving with the times: new developments in languages in French higher education contexts. European Journal of Language Policy 12(2), 193-214. <https://doi.org/10.3828/ejlp.2020.10>.


4 These may constitute or imply acquisition-related stages (Pienemann, 1989) and levels (Perdue, 1993),

5 As it indeed takes place within the framework of pedagogical practices, which are themselves embedded in the exercise framework offered by the institution and on which they depend upon.

6 Such as the language aptitude (Carroll, 1981), the intelligence type (Gardner, 2002) or the learners’ cognitive style (Oxford & Ehrman, 1995), for instance.


  • Paris, France (75000)


  • Sunday, June 05, 2022


  • Alice Burrows
    courriel : alice-helene [dot] burrows [at] sorbonne-nouvelle [dot] fr

Information source

  • Alice Burrows
    courriel : alice-helene [dot] burrows [at] sorbonne-nouvelle [dot] fr


CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« Time and language development: Pedagogical and practical considerations », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Tuesday, February 16, 2021, https://calenda.org/844165

Archive this announcement

  • Google Agenda
  • iCal
Search OpenEdition Search

You will be redirected to OpenEdition Search