Complex systems and applied linguistics by Diane Larsen-Freeman

By Diane Larsen-Freeman

This ebook introduces key ideas in complexity conception and demonstrates the applicability and usability of those ideas to more than a few components in utilized linguistics, together with first and moment language improvement, language educating, and discourse research.

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Return to the very simple traffic light system from Chapter 2 to mtroduce thiS idea, and then increase the complexity of our example systems. The. 1 represent the 'state space' of a system. A state space is a collection of all possible states of a system; each point in the landscape represents a state of the system. If Figure 3. 1 were not metaphorical but were a real landscape, the path of a person walking through the landscape could be fully described through four parameters. Three of these would be physical: height above sea level, longitude, and latitude; the fourth would be temporal, describing the time at which the walker passed through each physical point.

A stable mode of behavior in a system occurs when the system is 'in' a strong attractor. We can thus think of the stability of the system at that point in terms of how resistant the system is to being pushed out of the attractor by perturbations from outside. A stable mode of behavior will not be disrupted by being pushed-think of the system as a ball rolling around the inside a bowl-shaped well but not leaving the well because it does not move fast enough or with enough energy to escape up and over the sides.

Biological evolution takes place through a series of emergent new species. • Emergence in learning occurs when new ideas fall into place in an 'a-ha moment'. Once understood, the new knowledge influences other ideas. • A child learns to walk or to read and at some point the emergent behavior is stable enough to be labeled 'walking' or 'reading'. The act of walking 60 Change in complex systems Complex Systems and Applied Linguistics emerges from the actions of the legs and other muscles. Reciprocally, being able to walk influences how the legs and other muscles are used.

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