Professor Lydia White of McGill University Lectures in SFL


On the afternoon of October 18, 2023, Lydia White, a professor at the Department of Linguistics of McGill University in Canada and a leading researcher on second language acquisition from the perspective of generative linguistics, was invited by the School of Foreign Languages of Shanghai Jiao Tong University to give a lecture on "The Competence/Performance Distinction and Why It Matters" . The lecture was moderated by Professor Chang Hui, Dean of the School of Foreign Languages.

In this lecture, Professor White explored in depth the difference between linguistic ompetence and linguistic performance. She pointed out that this distinction had been widely discussed in different areas of language acquisition, especially in the generative linguistics research. She also reiterated on the importance of this concept in the context of additional language learning, and how it was possible to separate linguistic competence from linguistic performance. 

To further explain the difference between linguistic performance and linguistic competence, Lydia White introduced the influence of Principles, the role of mother tongue and the processing of the linguistic representations by using the secong language learners' acquisition of Binding Principle A and B as examples. She also elaborated on the various offline and online tasks used to assess lingusitic competence. 

In the question and answer session, Professor Lydia White held a lively discussion with the SFL teachers and students, covering such topics as the need to distinguish between linguistic competence and linguistic performance, the tools, methods and accuracy of linguistic competence assessment. Professor Chang Hui summed up the lecture and expressed his sincere thanks to Professor Lydia White. The lecture was succeefully concluded. 

Copyright: 2013 School of Foreign Languages, Shanghai Jiaotong University cross ICP No. 2010919

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