Back to overview

Conversation Analysis and Second Language Acquisition: CA-SLA

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Contribution to book (peer-reviewed)
Publication date 2013
Author Pekarek Doehler Simona,
Project Tracking interactional competence in a second language: a longitudinal study of actional microcosms (TRIC - L2)
Show all

Contribution to book (peer-reviewed)

Book The Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics
Editor , Chappelle
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Chichester
Page(s) 1097 - 1104
ISBN 978-1-4051-9473-0
Title of proceedings The Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics


Conversation analytic research on second language acquisition (CA-SLA) has emerged relatively late in the history of both CA and SLA. This is largely due to the historic development and the analytic focus of the two fi elds of research. On the one hand, ethnomethodological CA originated as a critical approach to society concerned with the local production of social order; it was not designed to address issues of learning or development. On the other hand, SLA research has traditionally been focused on the learner’s internal cognitive processing of linguistic forms; it has paid only limited attention to the social-contextual dimensions of the learning of a second language (L2) (but see Hatch’s, 1978, early statement). Yet, since he 1990s, the SLA scientifi c landscape has undergone a notable shift oward more socially, socioculturally, and sociocognitively oriented approaches, involving an increased awareness of the contingent, contextual, adaptive, and hence nonlinear nature of learning. CA research has played a major role in this development. In a much-quoted programmatic statement, Firth and Wagner (1997) have outlined the basic principles of what was later to become CA-SLA, calling for a “signifi cantly enhanced awareness of the contextual and interactional dimensions of language use” (p. 286). Their argument has triggered a critical debate between cognitive and socially oriented SLA researchers (see Modern Language Journal, 1997, 81[3], 2007, 91[5]), and has provided major impulses for CLA-SLA research ever since.