12. How adolescents use social discourse to open space for language learning during peer interactions

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This chapter investigates how adolescents learning English and Spanish mediated two-way language learning opportunities during their interactions in a language exchange program in one high school. Drawing upon sociocultural theory and interactional ethnography, we examined moment-to-moment discourse to identify language-related episodes (LREs) and discursive moves of social inquiry, solidarity, and support. Findings revealed how adolescent peers mediated each other’s learning using relationship-building discourse. This chapter contributes to interactional research in SLA by revealing how students construct comity in their interactions with peers, and how their discourse may afford opportunities for co-construction of knowledge and second language learning. We consider the pedagogical implications of recognizing social discourse as a tool to expand language learning among peers.


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