Developing conversational skills in a second language: Language learning affordances in a multiparty classroom setting

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From a longitudinal perspective, the present study explores L2 novices’ development of conversational skills in a primary school immersion classroom. Securing the teacher’s conversational involvement in a multiparty classroom setting usually involves a considerable amount of interactional work. The present study focuses on changes in the lexical and interactional design of the utterances aimed at initiating exchange with the teacher. The design of the novices’ initiating moves changed over the course of the year, moving from simple attention getters (vocatives) to lexically elaborate moves. It is argued that the interactional task of securing the teacher’s uptake provides a powerful language-learning context in which success or failure to recruit a conversational partner results in modified strategies for solving interactional problems.


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