Repetition is common in language use. Similarly, having students repeat is a common practice in language teaching. After surveying some of the better known contributions of repetition to language learning, I propose an innovative role for repetition from the perspective of complexity theory. I argue that we should not think of repetition as exact replication, but rather we should think of it as iteration that generates variation. Thus, what results from iteration is a mutable state. Iteration is one way that we create options in how to make meaning, position ourselves in the world as we want, understand the differences which we encounter in others, and adapt to a changing context.
About the author
Diane Larsen-Freeman is a Professor of Education, Professor of Linguistics, and Research Scientist (English Language Institute) at the University of Michigan, USA. She is also a Faculty Associate of the Center for the Study of Complex Systems, University of Michigan.
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