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When activity shapes the repertoire of second language learners

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Interactionists interested in second language acquisition postulate that learners’ competences are sensitive to the context in which they are put into play. Here we explore the language practices displayed, in a bilingual socio-educational milieu, by three dyads of English learners while carrying out oral communicative pair-work. In particular, we examine the role language choice plays in each task.
 A first analysis of our data indicates that the learners’ language choices seem to reveal the linguistic norms operating in the community of practice they belong to. A second analysis reveals that they exploited their linguistic repertoires according to their interpretation of the task and to their willingness to complete it in English. Thus, in the first two tasks students relied on code-switching as a mechanism to solve communication failures, whereas the third task generated the use of a mixed repertoire as a means to complete the task in the target language.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2007

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