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Second Language Research

Second Language Research

eISSN: 14770326 | ISSN: 02676583 | Current volume: 40 | Current issue: 2 Frequency: Quarterly

Second Language Research is an international peer-reviewed, quarterly journal, publishing original theory-driven research concerned with second (and additional) language acquisition and second language performance. This includes both experimental studies and contributions aimed at exploring conceptual issues. In addition to providing a forum for investigators in the field of non-native language learning, it seeks to promote interdisciplinary research which links acquisition studies to related non-applied fields such as neurolinguistics, psycholinguistics, theoretical linguistics, bilingualism, and first language developmental psycholinguistics.

Note that studies of foreign language teaching and learning are outside the scope of Second Language Research, unless they make a substantial contribution to understanding the process and nature of second language acquisition. Types of publications include full-length research articles (about 9,000 words), research notes (about 4,000 words), review articles of recent books or timely topics (about 5,000 words), discussion and commentary (about 5,000 words), invited keynote articles (about 11,000 words) and guest-edited, thematic issues.

This journal is a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE).

Electronic access:

Second Language Research is available to browse on SAGE Journals Online.

Second Language Research is a central resource in the field, especially for cutting-edge work on linguistic and cognitive issues in SLA. It is clearly among our first-tier journals.” Professor Michael Long University of Maryland, USA

Second Language Research publishes theoretical papers, original research and review articles on simultaneous or consecutive second and additional language acquisition in children and adults. In addition to providing a forum for investigators in the field of non-native language learning, the journal seeks to promote interdisciplinary research which links second language acquisition studies to related non-applied fields such as:

* Theoretical linguistics focused on second and additional language acquisition
* Neuroscience and cognitive science
* First language developmental psycholinguistics
* Heritage language studies
* Psycholinguistics.

The journal does not publish papers that focus on educational and pedagogical issues in language teaching and language testing.

Silvina A. Montrul University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA
Roumyana Slabakova University of Southampton, UK and University of Iowa, USA
Review Editor
Margaret Thomas Boston College, USA
Associate Editors
Charles Chang Boston University, USA
Esther de Leeuw Queen Mary University of London, UK
Guilherme Duarte Garcia Université Laval, Canada
Jeff Holliday University of Kansas, USA
Assistant Editor
Alice Foucart Nebrija University, Madrid, Spain
Founding Editors
James Pankhurst Germany
Michael Sharwood Smith Heriot-Watt University, UK
Editorial Board
Soondo Baek Kookmin University, South Korea
Joe Barcroft Washington University in St. Louis, USA
Melissa Bowles University of Illinois, USA
Ellen Broselow State Univ of New York at Stony Brook, USA
Jennifer Cabrelli University of Illinois Chicago, USA
Susanne Carroll University of Calgary, Canada
Vasiliki Chondrogianni University of Edinburgh, UK
Ian Cunnings University of Reading, UK
Alejandro Cuza Purdue University, USA
Laurent Dekydtspotter Indiana University, USA
Laura Dominguez University of Southampton, UK
Paola Escudero University of Western Sydney, Australia
Claudia Felser University of Potsdam, Germany
Alison Gabriele University of Kansas, USA
Theres Grüter University of Hawaii, USA
Marianne Gullberg University of Lund, Sweden
Ayse Gürel Bogaziçi University, Turkey
Rachel Hayes-Harb University of Utah, USA
Makiko Hirakawa Chuo University, Japan
Holger Hopp Technical University Braunschweig, Germany
Shunji Inagaki Doshisha University, Japan
Tania Ionin University of Illinois Urbana Champaign, USA
Jill Jegerski University of Illinois, USA
Alan Juffs University of Pittsburgh, USA
Ji-Hye Kim Korea National University of Education, South Korea
Helen Koulidobrova Central Connecticut State University, USA
Tania Leal The University of Arizona, USA
Ronald Leow Georgetown University, USA
Juana M. Liceras University of Ottawa, Canada
Ziyin Mai City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Theo Marinis University of Reading, UK
Florence Myles University of Essex, UK
Silvia Perpinan Universidad Pompeu Frabra, Spain
Manfred Pienemann University of Paderborn, Germany and University of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
Philippe Prevost Universite Francois Rabelais, France
Leah Roberts York University, UK
Jason Rothman UiT The Arctic University of Norway, Norway and University Nebrija, Spain
Christine Shea University of Iowa, USA
Miquel Simonet University of Arizona, USA
Neal Snape Gunma Prefectural Women's University, Japan
Antonella Sorace University of Edinburgh, UK
Yi-ching Su National Taiwan Tsinghua University, Taiwan
Gretchen Sunderman Florida State University, USA
Yuichi Suzuki Kanagawa University, Japan
Annie Tremblay University of Kansas, USA
Ianthi Maria Tsimpli University of Cambridge, UK
Lydia White McGill University, Canada
Virginia Yip Chinese University of Hong Kong, China
Martha Young-Scholten Newcastle University, UK
Boping Yuan Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China / University of Cambridge, UK
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  • Manuscript Submission Guidelines: Second Language Research

    This Journal is a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics

    Please read the guidelines below then visit the Journal’s submission site to upload your manuscript. Please note that manuscripts not conforming to these guidelines may be returned.

    Only manuscripts of sufficient quality that meet the aims and scope of Second Language Research will be reviewed. The editorial team is proud that in 2020, the average time to first decision was 31 days and the average time to a final decision was 48 days.

    There are no fees payable to submit or publish in this Journal. Open Access options are available - see section 3.3 below.

    As part of the submission process you will be required to warrant that you are submitting your original work, that you have the rights in the work, that you are submitting the work for first publication in the Journal and that it is not being considered for publication elsewhere and has not already been published elsewhere, and that you have obtained and can supply all necessary permissions for the reproduction of any copyright works not owned by you.

    Please see our guidelines on prior publication and note that Second Language Research may accept submissions of papers that have been posted on pre-print servers; please alert the Editorial Office when submitting (contact details are at the end of these guidelines) and include the DOI for the preprint in the designated field in the manuscript submission system. Authors should not post an updated version of their paper on the preprint server while it is being peer reviewed for possible publication in the journal. If the article is accepted for publication, the author may re-use their work according to the journal's author archiving policy.

    If your paper is accepted, you must include a link on your preprint to the final version of your paper.

    1. What do we publish?
      1.1 Aims & Scope
      1.2 Article types
      1.3 Writing your paper
    2. Editorial policies
      2.1 Peer review policy
      2.2 Authorship
      2.3 Acknowledgements
      2.4 Funding
      2.5 Declaration of conflicting interests
    3. Publishing policies
      3.1 Publication ethics
      3.2 Contributor's publishing agreement
      3.3 Open access and author archiving
    4. Preparing your manuscript
      4.1 Formatting
      4.2 Artwork, figures and other graphics
      4.3 Supplementary material
      4.4 Reference style
      4.5 English language editing services
      4.6 Statistical Guidelines
    5. Submitting your manuscript
      5.1 ORCID
      5.2 Information required for completing your submission
      5.3 Permissions
    6. On acceptance and publication
      6.1 Sage Production
      6.2 Online First publication
      6.3 Access to your published article
      6.4 Promoting your article
    7. Further information

    1. What do we publish?

    1.1 Aims & Scope

    Before submitting your manuscript to Second Language Research, please ensure you have read the Aims & Scope.

    1.2 Article Types

    The Journal considers the following kinds of articles for publication. Any submission that does not respect the word limit will be sent back to the author without review. Please note that the manuscript length described below includes only the main body of the text, footnotes and all citations within it. The manuscript length does not include abstract, section titles, figure and table captions, funding statements, acknowledgments and references in the bibliography. 

     (a) Full Articles (9,000 words) 

    Full research reports must include original experimental findings related to an area of relevance to second language acquisition research and theory. Authors must clearly state their hypotheses or research questions and the results must include a quantitative presentation of the data. Research reports must make an important contribution to the field of Second Language Research and demonstrate rigorous methodology and statistical analysis of the results. We do not discourage contributions that present null results if the authors clearly state the hypothesis tested and the meaning and relevance of the null results themselves.  

    All research reports must include an introduction (brief and focused), methods, discussion and conclusions. The conclusion must address the broader implications of the results and clearly state how the study contributed to the field of SLA.

    (b) Research Notes (4,000 words) 

    Research notes are short reports and discussion papers of interest to the Second Language Research community. Research notes also include original research and follow the same outline as above but should be highly focused on one specific question related to SLA. Research notes may include replications of previously published studies.

    (c) Review Articles (5,000 words) 

    Review articles that provide a synthesis in areas covered by the journal, or which assess methods, professional resources (including publications), or conceptual advances in the field. Normally, review articles are broader in focus than research notes and do not include original research.

    All books for the review articles section should be sent to the review editor:

    Margaret Thomas 
    Program in Linguistics 
    Lyons Hall 
    Boston College 
    Chestnut hill, MA 02467 


    (d) Keynote Articles with commentaries (11,000 words)

    Keynote articles are normally commissioned by the Editors. They present a relevant new theory or model, or address a specific topic that is being currently debated in the field and take a clear position on one side of the debate. The goal of a keynote article is to present the issues most relevant to the topic, take a particular perspective on this topic and situate it in the broader field of SLA. Once a keynote is submitted, other experts on the topic will be invited to comment on the keynote article from their particular perspective.

    (e) Discussion and Commentary  (5, 000 words) 

    Discussion and commentary are short articles addressing questions and concerns of a theoretical nature. Their goal is to initiate a conversation on a particular burning issue related to second language acquisition and encourage exchange of ideas, opinions and perspectives on that issue among researchers in the field.

    (f) Registered Reports

    Registered Reports are submissions that go through a two-phase review process. In Stage 1, the methods and proposed analyses are reviewed before data are collected and the study is pre-registered. In Stage 2, reviewers consider the full study, including results and interpretation. This format of article seeks to avoid a variety of inappropriate research practices, including inadequate statistical power, selective reporting of results, and publication bias, but still offers the flexibility to conduct subsequent exploratory (unregistered) analyses.

    Starting in 2021, Second Language Research accepts Registered Report submissions. Detailed instructions for this format are available here and on the journal’s submission site, with instructions for authors and instructions for reviewers. Those can also be obtained by email from the editorial office.

    Note that Registered Reports are different from preprints. A preprint is an online only, pre-peer reviewed version of a manuscript that is made openly available on a preprint server. They are not peer reviewed, and a preprint is not considered to be published, although they are often assigned DOIs. Preprints provide a unique benefit to the research community by allowing authors to rapidly disseminate their research before their papers are peer reviewed and published. They also allow researchers to work on their paper with the input of others in the research community before it is submitted for journal publication. However, they do not guarantee publication of the article. Since June 2018, SLR collects the DOIs for any preprint versions of the published articles to link a preprint version of an article to the final published version, providing increased transparency for readers.

    1.3 Writing your paper

    The Sage Author Gateway has some general advice and on how to get published, plus links to further resources. Sage Author Services also offers authors a variety of ways to improve and enhance their article including English language editing, plagiarism detection, and video abstract and infographic preparation.

    1.3.1 Make your article discoverable

    When writing up your paper, think about how you can make it discoverable. The title, keywords and abstract are key to ensuring readers find your article through search engines such as Google. For information and guidance on how best to title your article, write your abstract and select your keywords, have a look at this page on the Gateway: How to Help Readers Find Your Article Online

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    2. Editorial policies

    2.1 Peer review policy

    Each submission is subject to an in-house evaluation process and once this is completed, the article is either determined unsuitable for publication in SLR or sent for external review. This process of initial editorial evaluation may take up to two weeks. Once this review has been conducted, the manuscript is either returned to the author or assigned to an acting editor who sends it out to reviewers. 

    The Editors of Second Language Research typically ask for 3 independent reviews of submissions they judge to be potentially publishable. Guidelines for reviewers can be found here.


    Submissions must be submitted in a format that will allow double-blind reviewing of the manuscript. 

    • The author's name(s) should not be included in headers or footers or in any part of the file (such as in 'Properties') which can reveal her/his/their identity. All funding sources should also be anonymized if they can be used to identify the author(s).
    • Any references to previous work by the same author within the text or in the references themselves should use the formant ‘Author XXX’.

    2.2 Authorship

    All parties who have made a substantive contribution to the article should be listed as authors. Principal authorship, authorship order, and other publication credits should be based on the relative scientific or professional contributions of the individuals involved, regardless of their status. A student is usually listed as principal author on any multiple-authored publication that substantially derives from the student’s dissertation or thesis.

    Please note that AI chatbots, for example ChatGPT, should not be listed as authors. For more information see the policy on Use of ChatGPT and generative AI tools.

    2.3 Acknowledgements

    All contributors who do not meet the criteria for authorship should be listed in an Acknowledgements section. Examples of those who might be acknowledged include a person who provided purely technical help, or a department chair who provided only general support.

    Please supply any personal acknowledgements separately to the main text to facilitate anonymous peer review.

    2.3.1 Third party submissions

    Where an individual who is not listed as an author submits a manuscript on behalf of the author(s), a statement must be included in the Acknowledgements section of the manuscript and in the accompanying cover letter. The statements must:

    • Disclose this type of editorial assistance – including the individual’s name, company and level of input
    • Identify any entities that paid for this assistance
    • Confirm that the listed authors have authorized the submission of their manuscript via third party and approved any statements or declarations, e.g. conflicting interests, funding, etc.

    Where appropriate, Sage reserves the right to deny consideration to manuscripts submitted by a third party rather than by the authors themselves.

    2.3.2 Writing assistance

    Individuals who provided writing assistance, e.g. from a specialist communications company, do not qualify as authors and so should be included in the Acknowledgements section. Authors must disclose any writing assistance – including the individual’s name, company and level of input – and identify the entity that paid for this assistance. It is not necessary to disclose use of language polishing services.

    2.4 Funding

    Second Language Research requires all authors to acknowledge their funding in a consistent fashion under a separate heading.  Please visit the Funding Acknowledgements page on the Sage Journal Author Gateway to confirm the format of the acknowledgment text in the event of funding, or state that: This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors. 

    2.5 Declaration of conflicting interests

    Second Language Research encourages authors to include a declaration of any conflicting interests and recommends you review the good practice guidelines on the Sage Journal Author Gateway

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    3. Publishing Policies

    3.1 Publication ethics

    Sage is committed to upholding the integrity of the academic record. We encourage authors to refer to the Committee on Publication Ethics’ International Standards for Authors and view the Publication Ethics page on the Sage Author Gateway

    3.1.1 Plagiarism

    Second Language Research and Sage take issues of copyright infringement, plagiarism or other breaches of best practice in publication very seriously. We seek to protect the rights of our authors and we always investigate claims of plagiarism or misuse of published articles. Equally, we seek to protect the reputation of the journal against malpractice. Submitted articles may be checked with duplication-checking software. Where an article, for example, is found to have plagiarised other work or included third-party copyright material without permission or with insufficient acknowledgement, or where the authorship of the article is contested, we reserve the right to take action including, but not limited to: publishing an erratum or corrigendum (correction); retracting the article; taking up the matter with the head of department or dean of the author's institution and/or relevant academic bodies or societies; or taking appropriate legal action.

    3.1.2 Prior publication

    If material has been previously published it is not generally acceptable for publication in a Sage journal. However, there are certain circumstances where previously published material can be considered for publication. Please refer to the guidance on the Sage Author Gateway or if in doubt, contact the Editor at the address given below.

    3.2 Contributor's publishing agreement

    Before publication, Sage requires the author as the rights holder to sign a Journal Contributor’s Publishing Agreement. Sage’s Journal Contributor’s Publishing Agreement is an exclusive licence agreement which means that the author retains copyright in the work but grants Sage the sole and exclusive right and licence to publish for the full legal term of copyright. Exceptions may exist where an assignment of copyright is required or preferred by a proprietor other than Sage. In this case copyright in the work will be assigned from the author to the society. For more information please visit the Sage Author Gateway

    3.3 Open access and author archiving

    Second Language Research offers optional open access publishing via the Sage Choice programme and Open Access agreements, where authors can publish open access either discounted or free of charge depending on the agreement with Sage. Find out if your institution is participating by visiting Open Access Agreements at Sage. For more information on Open Access publishing options at Sage please visit Sage Open Access. For information on funding body compliance, and depositing your article in repositories, please visit Sage’s Author Archiving and Re-Use Guidelines and Publishing Policies.

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    4. Preparing your manuscript for submission

    4.1 Formatting

    The preferred format for your manuscript is Word. Templates are available on the Manuscript Submission Guidelines page of our Author Gateway.

    4.2 Artwork, figures and other graphics

    For guidance on the preparation of illustrations, pictures and graphs in electronic format, please visit Sage’s Manuscript Submission Guidelines  

    Figures supplied in colour will appear in colour online regardless of whether or not these illustrations are reproduced in colour in the printed version. For specifically requested colour reproduction in print, you will receive information regarding the costs from Sage after receipt of your accepted article.

    4.3 Supplementary material

    Second Language Research does not currently accept supplemental files.

    4.4 Reference style

    Second Language Research adheres to the Sage Harvard reference style. View the Sage Harvard guidelines to ensure your manuscript conforms to this reference style.

    If you use EndNote to manage references, you can download the Sage Harvard EndNote output file

    4.5 English language editing services

    Authors seeking assistance with English language editing, translation, or figure and manuscript formatting to fit the journal’s specifications should consider using Sage Language Services. Visit Sage Language Services on our Journal Author Gateway for further information.

    4.6 Statistical Guidelines

    Authors should follow the general guidelines for statistical analysis and representation of statistical results as outlined here.

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    5. Submitting your manuscript

    Second Language Research is hosted on Sage Track, a web based online submission and peer review system powered by ScholarOne™ Manuscripts. Visit to login and submit your article online.

    Manuscripts should have a separate title page with the author's name, full postal address and email address. The first page of the text should carry the title of the article without the name of the author (see also section on Anonymity above). Each article must be accompanied by an abstract of about 200 words.

    If you are a new user, you will first need to create an account. Submissions should be made by logging in and selecting the ‘Author Center’ and the 'Click here to Submit a New Manuscript' option. Follow the instructions on each page, clicking the 'Next' button on each screen to save your work and advance to the next screen. If at any stage you have any questions or require the user guide, please use the ‘Online Help’ button at the top right of every screen.

    IMPORTANT: Please check whether you already have an account in the system before trying to create a new one. If you have reviewed or authored for the journal in the past year it is likely that you will have had an account created. For further guidance on submitting your manuscript online please visit ScholarOne Online Help.

    5.1 ORCID

    As part of our commitment to ensuring an ethical, transparent and fair peer review process Sage is a supporting member of ORCID, the Open Researcher and Contributor ID. ORCID provides a persistent digital identifier that distinguishes researchers from every other researcher and, through integration in key research workflows such as manuscript and grant submission, supports automated linkages between researchers and their professional activities ensuring that their work is recognised.

    The collection of ORCID IDs from corresponding authors is now part of the submission process of this journal. If you already have an ORCID ID you will be asked to associate that to your submission during the online submission process. We also strongly encourage all co-authors to link their ORCID ID to their accounts in our online peer review platforms. It takes seconds to do: click the link when prompted, sign into your ORCID account and our systems are automatically updated. Your ORCID ID will become part of your accepted publication’s metadata, making your work attributable to you and only you. Your ORCID ID is published with your article so that fellow researchers reading your work can link to your ORCID profile and from there link to your other publications.

    If you do not already have an ORCID ID please follow this link to create one or visit our ORCID homepage to learn more.

    5.2 Information required for completing your submission

    You will be asked to provide contact details and academic affiliations for all co-authors via the submission system and identify who is to be the corresponding author. These details must match what appears on your manuscript. At this stage please ensure you have included all the required statements and declarations and uploaded any additional supplementary files (including reporting guidelines where relevant).

    5.3 Permissions

    Please also ensure that you have obtained any necessary permission from copyright holders for reproducing any illustrations, tables, figures or lengthy quotations previously published elsewhere. For further information including guidance on fair dealing for criticism and review, please see the Copyright and Permissions page on the Sage Author Gateway

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    6. On acceptance and publication

    6.1 Sage Production

    Your Sage Production Editor will keep you informed as to your article’s progress throughout the production process. Proofs will be sent by PDF to the corresponding author and should be returned promptly.  Authors are reminded to check their proofs carefully to confirm that all author information, including names, affiliations, sequence and contact details are correct, and that Funding and Conflict of Interest statements, if any, are accurate.

    6.2 Online First publication

    Online First allows final articles (completed and approved articles awaiting assignment to a future issue) to be published online prior to their inclusion in a journal issue, which significantly reduces the lead time between submission and publication. Visit the Sage Journals help page for more details, including how to cite Online First articles.

    6.3 Access to your published article

    Sage provides authors with online access to their final article.

    6.4 Promoting your article

    Publication is not the end of the process! You can help disseminate your paper and ensure it is as widely read and cited as possible. The Sage Author Gateway has numerous resources to help you promote your work. Visit the Promote Your Article page on the Gateway for tips and advice.

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    7. Further information

    Any correspondence, queries or additional requests for information on the manuscript submission process should be sent to the Second Language Research editorial office as follows:

    Silvina Montrul 
    University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
    Department of Spanish, Italian & Portuguese
    4080 Foreign Languages Building, MC-176
    707 S. Mathews Ave
    Urbana, IL 61801

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