When the gate opens: The interaction between social and linguistic goals in child second language development
This study offers a cross disciplinary approach to exploring the potential benefits of peer interaction for the second language development of a six year old child, based on a qualitative analysis of interactions between the child and her peers over 6 weeks in a mainstream grade 1 classroom. We argue that the young learner’s second language development in school can only be understood in the context of her relationships with others. Her social goals of affiliation and participation impact her interactions and these interactions in turn have consequences for language use and language development. The findings point to the importance of peer relationships, and the recognition that other children are a resource for the young language learner in the classroom.