Conceptual Development in Adult Second Language Learning
Nan Jiang

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship

Award Year



Georgia State University

Primary Discipline

When adults learn a new language, they may associate new words with pre-existing concepts or meanings, they may develop new concepts, or they may do both. Second language (L2) researchers disagree about how successful adult L2 learners are in developing a new conceptual system while learning a new language. Research evidence is scarce. This study explores the interaction of conceptual transfer and conceptual development in adult second language acquisition from a psycholinguistic perspective. A series of studies will be carried out that examine conceptual representation and development of adult L2 learners through the observation of their lexical performance in controlled lab settings. Two unique features distinguish this project from all other studies on the topic, i.e., the use of psycholinguistic experimental methods and the involvement of L2 learners at different proficiency levels, including near-native L2 speakers. The findings will illuminate the psychological processes involved in conceptual development and transfer in adult L2 acquisition. They will also provide important insights for the study of cross-cultural communication, the relationship between language and thought, and the development of effective L2 teaching approaches.
About Nan Jiang

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