History of TDL

Thinking, doing, learning: Usage based perspectives on second language learning (TDL) was a conference organized in 2013 by Søren W. Eskildsen and Teresa Cadierno, University of Southern Denmark, and partially funded by the VELUX Foundation. The conference brought together perspectives that find mutual kinship in a view of language as an embodied, semiotic, symbolic tool used for communicative and interactional purposes and an understanding of language use as the preeminent condition for language learning. These perspectives were conjoined under the umbrella term of usage based perspectives.

The rationale behind the conference was that the field of second language (L2) learning research had come to sustain a multitude of perspectives not only on language and learning but also on broader issues such as the crossing points between social interaction and individual cognition. Such greater theoretical and empirical variety came with an expansion of what is traditionally thought of as the core of language and the nature of learning. This development needed a conference as an outlet.

The conference was conceived of as a great success with plenaries from leading scholars Brian MacWhinney, Nick Ellis, Johannes Wagner, and Lourdes Ortega that brought the entire conference together as a coherent whole and collaboratively aimed at promoting and advancing the usage-based perspectives on L2 learning research. This is also evident in Cadierno & Eskildsen's edited volume that came out of the conference and appeared in 2015 as well as in the immediate wish to turn the conference into a conference series.

The second TDL conference was held in the University of Groningen, Netherlands in 2015 and the third in the Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, Germany in 2017. The conference is thus organized biennially and the fourth in the series will be held in the University of Jyväskylä, Finland, in 2019.