Our previous research in the areas of Spanish grammar and second language
acquisition (= SLA) respectively is theoretically positioned in various
ways in relation to Cognitive Linguistics. With regard to SLA, the adoption of the Cognitive Linguistics framework (e.g. Langacker 1987/91; Goldberg 1995; Talmy 1985; Croft 2001; Tomasello 1998) is a relatively new approach. Similarly, SLA has only recently been an object of study in cognitive linguistic research. Cognitive linguistics thus represents an obvious potential for interdisciplinary work in Modern Language Studies: the application of basic cognitive linguistics principles may throw light on a number of issues within SLA. In particular, it offers a theoretical framework for contrastive studies that enables research into how the construction of semantic structures in the first language (L1) and the foreign language (e.g. L2) is related to general human cognitive capacity, and to the cultural behavior that characterizes the L1 and L2 user. On the other hand, the study of SLA may provide some very interesting data for testing hypotheses concerning the formation of grammar in a language formulated in the cognitive linguistic framework. The aim of this paper is twofold: (a) to outline the overall role of Cognitive Linguistics in the study of language and culture and its implications for the study of Second Language Acquisition (SLA); and (b) to discuss the reciprocal contributions of Cognitive Linguistics and the study of adult SLA. Specifically, we will present some concrete cases of research to demonstrate how cognitively-based contrastive analyses of learners’ first and second languages can be fruitful for foreign language studies. The paper is divided as follows: First we will outline the role of culture in Cognitive Linguistics. In the next section we will discuss Cognitive Linguistics as a common ground for usage-based frameworks, and the implications for the study of SLA. Subsequently, we will look more closely at the reciprocal contributions of Cognitive Linguistics and SLA, and present some cases of recent research. Finally we will briefly discuss some pedagogical implications of the Cognitive Linguistics Framework.