James P. Lantolf

James P. Lantolf

George and Jane Greer Professor Emeritus in Language Acquisition and Applied Linguistics
Area(s) of Specialization: Cultural-historical Psychology, Second Language Acquisition, Sociocultural Theory
James P. Lantolf

Curriculum Vitae


Ph.D., Linguistics, The Pennsylvania State University
M.A., Spanish Linguistics, The Pennsylvania State University
B. S., Secondary Education and Spanish, University of Scranton

Professional Bio

James P. Lantolf is Greer Professor in Language Acquisition and Applied Linguistics, Emeritus. At Penn State, he served as Director of the Center for Language Acquisition from 2000 to 2019, and was Director of the U.S. Department of Education Title VI Center for Advanced Language Proficiency, Education and Research from 2002 to 2022. His research focuses on second language development and language pedagogy from the perspective of Vygotskian sociocultural psychology. From 2017 to 2019 he was Yangtze River Scholar in Applied Linguistics at Xi’an Jiaotong University. He was co-editor of Applied Linguistics (1993-1998) and is founding editor of Language and Sociocultural Theory (2013-2023). He served as president of the American Association for Applied Linguistics (2005) and was recipient of its Distinguished Scholarship and Service Award (2016). He has co-authored and co-edited the following books: Sociocultural Theory and Second Language Research (1994), Sociocultural Theory and Second Language Learning (2000), Sociocultural Theory and the Genesis of Second Language Development (2006), Sociocultural Theory and the Teaching of Second Languages (2008), Sociocultural Theory and the Pedagogical Imperative in L2 Education (2014), which received the Mildenberger Prize of the Modern Language Association of America, and The Routledge Handbook of Sociocultural Theory and Second Language Development (2018). Most recently he was co-guest editor of a special issue of The Modern Language Journal on Sociocultural Theory and Pedagogical Research in East Asia and a special issue on Dynamic Assessment Research in China of the Language Assessment Quarterly.

Selected Recent Articles and Book Chapters

Lantolf, J. P., & Xi, J. (2023). Digital language learning: A sociocultural theory perspective. TESOL Quarterly. http://doi.org/10.1002/tesq.3218.

Stam, G., Urbanski, K., Lantolf, J. P., & Smotrova, T. (2023). How concept-based instruction works in teaching thinking for speaking in an L2. IRAL. 61 (1), 111-153. https://doi-org.ezaccess.libraries.psu.edu/10.1515/iral-2022-0073.

Lantolf, J. P., & Poehner, M. E. (2023). Sociocultural theory and classroom second language learning in the East Asian context: Introduction to the special issue. The Modern Language Journal, 107 (S1). https://doi-org.ezaccess.libraries.psu.edu/10.1111/modl.12816.

Poehner, M. E., & Lantolf, J. P. (2023). Advancing L2 dynamic assessment: New directions and contexts. Language Assessment Quarterly, 20 (1), 1-19. https://doi.org/10.1080/15434303.2022.2158465.

Zhang, Y., Lantolf, J. P., & Meng, Y. (2022). A study of tensions in an EFL teacher’s research identity development through perezhivanie: A sociocultural perspective. System, 111, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.system.2022.102954.

Poehner, M. E., &, Lantolf, J. P. (2021). The ZPD, second language learning, and the reproduction ~ transformation dialectic. Cultural Historical Psychology, 17 (3), 31-41.

Lantolf, J. P. (2021). Motivational dialogue in the second language setting. International Journal of TESOL Studies, 3 (3), 1-21.

Lantolf, J. P., Xi, J., & Minakova, L. (2021). Research timeline for sociocultural theory: Concept-based language instruction (C-BLI). Language Teaching, 54 (3), 327-342.

Xi, J., & Lantolf, J. P. (2020). Scaffolding and the zone of proximal development: A problematic relationship. Journal for the Theory of Social Behavior, 51 (2), 25-48. (a top cited article, 2021-2022).

Lantolf, J. P. (2021). World language education and the pedagogical imperative. In Li-Fang Zhang (Ed.), Oxford research encyclopedia in education (volume II, pp. 1238-1266). Oxford: Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/acrefore/9780190264093.013.ORE_EDU-00963.R2.

Lantolf, J. P., Poehner, M. E., & Thorne, S. L. (2020). Sociocultural theory and second language development. In. B. VanPatten, G. D. Keating, & S. Wulff, Theories in second language acquisition. An introduction. 3rd edition (pp. 223-247).  New York: Routledge.

Lantolf, J. P. (2020). I ~ You > I ~ Me: The hidden “other” in second language development. In L. Gurzynski-Weiss (Ed.), Cross-theoretical explorations of interlocutors and their individual differences (pp. 79-97). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Lantolf, J. P., & Swain, M. (2020). Perezhivanie: The cognitive-emotional dialectic within the social situation of development. In A. Al-Hoorie, & P. McIntyre (Eds.), Contemporary language motivation theory: 60 years since Gardner and Lambert (1959) (pp. 80-108). Bristol, UK: Multilingual Matters.

Lantolf, J. P., & Beckett, T. (2009). Research timeline for sociocultural theory and second language acquisition. Language Teaching, 42, 459-475.

Choi, S-J., & Lantolf, J.  P. (2008). The representation and embodiment of meaning in L2 communication: Motion events in speech and gesture in L2 Korean and L2 English speakers. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 30, 191-224.

Lantolf, J. P. (2006). Sociocultural theory and second language learning: State of the art. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 28, 67-109.

Aljaafreh, A., & Lantolf, J.  P. (1994). Negative feedback as regulation and second language learning in the Zone of Proximal Development. The Modern Language Journal, 78, 465-483.



Sociocultural Theory and Second Language Learning