Introduction to the role of interaction in instructed language learning

  • Gertraud Havranek
  • Published 2003


The study of conversational interaction among second language learners and their interlocutors has been central to studies of acquisition since the beginning of the 80 s (see Alc ! on, 2001; Gass, 1997; Gass, Mackey, & Pica, 1998; Long, 1996; Pica, 1994, for a review of the most important research in this area and its theoretical implications). Research has shown that L2 learners’ participation in negotiated interaction eases the access to conditions claimed to bolster language learning, namely: comprehensible input (Krashen, 1985; Long, 1985), production of modified output (Swain, 1985, 1995) and focus on form (Long & Robinson, 1998; Schmidt & Frota, 1986). As Gass et al. (1998, p.303) point out, studies carried out within the interaction hypothesis to date suggest that research should focus on the nature of conversational interaction, whether or not opportunities are present for the conditions and processes that are claimed to facilitate language learning, and the nature of the development that takes place. The present thematic issue focuses on the role of interaction in instructed language learning contexts, in contrast to research on conversational interaction in naturalistic settings. From this perspective, the goal of this thematic issue is to address the effect of conversational interaction on acquiring a second language and to bring insights for a better understanding of the potential benefits of interaction in instructed language learning. Taking into account the interaction hypothesis, which originated in the work by Long (1980, 1983, 1985), the papers in this issue describe learners’ work through perceived or actual gaps in communication, report research supporting the relationship between conversational interaction and language learning, and suggest further research issues which may provide both teachers and researchers with new directions in the future. The contributors come from Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Holland, Spain and the USA. In the opening article, Roy Lyster addresses the issue of form and meaning in teacher–student interaction. In his paper ‘‘Negotiation in immersion teacher–student interaction’’ he first looks at interaction in a social studies lesson to illustrate the ambiguity from the learners’ perspective of teachers’ recasts of illformed utterances and repetitions of well-formed ones. Later, he illustrates formfocused negotiation examining exchanges in a grade 4 science lesson and showing that this type of negotiation is ‘‘less likely to create pragmatic ambivalence than recasts embedded in meaning-focused negotiation.’’ The author’s suggestion is to ARTICLE IN PRESS

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@inproceedings{Havranek2003IntroductionTT, title={Introduction to the role of interaction in instructed language learning}, author={Gertraud Havranek}, year={2003} }