Language alternation as an interactional practice in the foreign language classroom.

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Language alternation (code- or language-switching) has been a long-standing focus of research in language classrooms and multilingual communities. We know about its functions, about the distribution and frequencies in speakers’ use of their languages, about the cognitive impact of language alternation on learning, and about social and interactional accounts of language alternation that are concerned with indexing shifting identities and social inequalities, and with showing how they are deployed as interactional resources in languaging practices. This chapter presents an overview of recent research in the Conversation Analytic (CA) tradition which treats language alternation in the foreign language classroom as a social practice. It describes how the micro-analytic methods of CA have contributed to understanding language alternation through analysis of two samples from Australia: a secondary Italian foreign language classroom and a tertiary Japanese foreign language classroom. The focus of the analyses is on the language alternation practices between teacher and learners and between learner and learner. The chapter ends with a consideration of the implications of this research for language teacher education with reference to medium of classroom interaction.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMultilingual Education Yearbook 2019
Subtitle of host publicationMedia of Instruction and Multilingual Settings
EditorsIndika Liyanage, Tony Walker
Place of PublicationCham Switzerland
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9783030143862
ISBN (Print)9783030143855
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019

Publication series

NameMultilingual Education Yearbook
ISSN (Print)2522-5421
ISSN (Electronic)2522-543X


  • conversation analysis
  • language alteration as a social and learning practice in the classroom
  • medium of instruction
  • medium of interaction

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