Volume 3, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1878-9714
  • E-ISSN: 1878-9722
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This study explores the development of the interactional competence of an 8-year-old, Japanese learner of English over three cooking sessions with native speakers of English at her home during her period of residence in Australia. The study draws upon Vygotsky’s (1978) zone of proximal development in order to elucidate the L2 child’s process of acquiring interactional competence in this unfamiliar social practice (i.e., cooking-relevant talk). The analysis reveals marked changes in the child’s participation pattern over time, moving from making relevant minimal responses to more initiated, and autonomous participation. The child recycled some of the interlocutors’ utterances from the previous sessions, showing that the earlier cooking sessions provided her with a linguistic challenge and became a resource of language learning for her. She also made use of a textual resource (i.e., the recipe) as a scaffold to move toward more autonomous participation. In addition, the role of the recipe became less central as her participation became increasingly more independent.


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