Applying an Argument-Based Approach
Chapter 2: Second Language Proficiency
SECOND LANGUAGE PROFICIENCY
Before developing a test of L2 proficiency it is important to state what exactly L2 proficiency is and what components it consists of. Depending on the context – L2 testing, L2 pedagogy, or SLA – different views exist on defining the construct of L2 proficiency. This chapter reviews different approaches to conceptualizing and operationalizing an L2 proficiency construct as developed in language testing, L2 pedagogy, and in more cognitively- and psycholinguistically-oriented SLA research. In particular, since the validation study in this publication deals with the assessment of the oral and aural L2 proficiency, the literature review focuses on the oral mode of L2 proficiency, in other words on language production and perception and the role that lexico-grammatical knowledge and automatic processing play within it.
The chapter starts with a review of different models of language proficiency and competence as well as their components. I further discuss different proposals for categorizing L2 proficiency levels and identifying indicators of L2 proficiency made for educational and testing purposes. I then discuss the contribution of the SLA field in defining the construct of L2 proficiency focusing, in particular, on Levelt’s (1989) model of L2 production and Hulstjin’s (2007, 2011, 2015) model of L2 proficiency. Finally, I argue for the incorporation of contributions from all three fields and present a hierarchy of L2 proficiency constructs relevant for the current publication. So, throughout the chapter I make a case for “oracy” as a new conceptualization of language...
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