Conceptions of language and language learning

Phil Benson, Winnie Lor

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    115 Citations (Scopus)


    This paper questions whether the notion of learner beliefs as conceived in the SLA literature is adequate to capture the complexity of learners' thinking about language learning. It proposes as an alternative, an analytical framework based on three levels: conception, approach and belief. The notion of conceptions of language and language learning is proposed as higher level category conditioning specific beliefs. The notion of approaches to learning is proposed as a category describing the level at which beliefs are made manifest in specific contexts of learning. These categories are illustrated with reference to the authors' data drawn from interviews with university students in Hong Kong.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)459-472
    Number of pages14
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 1999


    • Approaches to learning
    • Conceptions of learning
    • Learner beliefs


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