Issues in Applied Linguistics
"Aw, man, where you goin'?'': Classroom Interaction and the Development of L2 Interactional Competence
- Author(s): Hall, Joan Kelly
- et al.
The interactive practices of foreign language (FL) classrooms are significant to the development of learners' L2 interactional competence in that these practices are often the only exposure to FL talk that the learners get, especially in the early years of language instruction. To gain some understanding of the varied paths that individual development of this competence can take we must take into account the discursive structures and linguistic resources of these interactional environments. This article reports on a study with such a purpose. Of specific concern is how topics are discursively established and managed in an interactive practice whose pedagogical purpose is to provide speaking opportunities for a group of students in a first year high school Spanish class. The findings indicate that the way in which topics are developed in this practice differs significantly from how they are typically developed in ordinary interactive practices outside of the FL classroom. It is concluded that learners are getting less than what they need to fully develop their interactional competence in Spanish. The analysis makes clear our need to give more thoughtful consideration to how we define the comprehensibility of FL classroom interaction and the role that it plays in developing L2 interactional competence.