Book ReviewsSPECIAL ISSUE ON CDST, Vol. 17, No. 1 (2017)

Zhōng Jiè Yǔ Yǔ Yán Xué Duō Wéi Yán Jiū [Multidimensional Studies in Interlanguage Linguistics].

Shaopeng Li

Shanghai International Studies University


Since the term “interlanguage” was coined by Larry Selinker in 1972 to refer to the systematic knowledge of a second language (L2) that is independent of both a learner’s first or native language (L1) and the target language (TL) (Ellis, 2008), it has received a tremendous amount of attention in the second language acquisition (SLA) research literature. After more than 40 years of study, researchers have reached the consensus that interlanguage is a linguistic system in its own right (Selinker, 2014) such that the interlanguage system has the basic characteristics of natural language and its intrinsic regularity can be identified at all linguistic levels, such as phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, and pragmatics. In line with new developments in interlanguage research, Professor Lianrui Yang has recently identified a new interlanguage construct, interlanguage linguistics, in this new monograph that is currently only available in Chinese. All of the various strands of interlanguage research are integrated into this new construct, suggesting the formation of this new discipline.

Focusing specifically on interlanguage development, the 32 chapters that constitute this new book offer fundamental information about both traditional as well as emerging topics in interlanguage research. The book highlights the interdisciplinary nature of the field in its selection of themes and chapters. Its chapters touch on topics ranging from theoretical constructs to multidimensional studies of interlanguage development.

For this review, the chapters have been grouped and organized under five main themes: (1) Interlanguage Phonology (Chapters 1-7), (2) Interlanguage Morphology and Syntax (Chapters 8-11, 14-15, 17-20), (3) Interlanguage Pragmatics (Chapters 12-13, 16), (4) Interlanguage Vocabulary (Chapters 21-28), and (5) Interlanguage Linguistics (Chapters 29-32). These subdivisions offer general and essential information regarding the status of research on interlanguage phonology, syntax, pragmatics, lexicon, etc. The general contents of each of these major thematic areas will be described next, followed by brief chapter-by-chapter summaries as well.