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Opportunities to Talk: A Study of L2 Spoken Interaction in Kindergarten

Sherris, A., & Harris, S. (2008). Opportunities to talk: A study of L2 spoken interaction in kindergarten. Poster session presented at the Georgetown University Round Table, Washington, DC.

Abstract. Based on examples drawn from two kindergarten lessons and the interaction of five second language (L2) learners, we examine situated spoken discourse in both a focus on form and a focus on narrative from these lessons. Analysis demonstrates that a focus on narrative provides opportunities for L2 children to construct both topical and episodic speech events that link propositional, social, and expressive functions of language as Cazden’s (2001) work has shown among mostly native speakers. We therefore contribute to this work by extending an understanding of child discourse to young L2 learners. Moreover, by comparing examples from a focus on form with a focus on narrative, we are able to demonstrate that the latter examples are sites for multifunctional discourse, while the former examples only exhibit an emphasis on a propositional function, relegating more complex discourse samples to off-task talk.
Ari Sherris,
Nov 15, 2010, 6:03 PM