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Johannes Wagner
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Analyzing Second Language Conversations in the Wild: An Introductory Workshop on Conversation Analysis

Johannes Wagner 

Professor, University of Southern Denmark

Abstract

The workshop gives an introduction to Conversation Analysis (CA) as a method in applied linguistics. From its very beginning, CA has explored the resources through which participants create orderliness and make sense out of their interactions with other people. For many years, CA has worked exclusively on data in monolingual environments, but over the last few decades, interest in understanding the resources through which second language speakers create order, make sense, and learn how to navigate in their life-worlds has grown considerably.

The workshop will focus entirely on data that have been recorded outside of classrooms -- in second language speakers’ mundane interactions, in service encounters, workplaces, and institutional settings. The workshop will explore how CA contributes to a better understanding of what has often been referred to in SLA as language use. CA, however, does not distinguish between system and use. CA understands language and interaction as nothing but use -- but that many different resources (in talk, in embodied conduct, and in the situated environment) are available to participants to deploy for their interactional purposes.

The workshop will present issues and topics in the analysis of audio and video recordings of participants who use a second language for whatever they are doing in the interaction. The workshop will shift between short presentations of selected topics and exercises where the participants work hands-on with small collections of data examples.

A central topic covered will be different forms of repair activities and word searches. Taking newer work in Ethnomethodology and CA into account, the workshop will aim for a better understanding of second language learning in and through interaction.

Workshop participants will receive access to a pre-reading package as well as to selected data at talkbank.org.

Bio

Johannes Wagner is a Professor of Communication in the Department of Design and Communication at the University of Southern Denmark. His interest in interaction originated in his early publications about foreign language teaching methodology, especially about games in language classrooms. He has published in English, Danish, and German on second language interaction inside and outside of classrooms. He is currently working on a comprehensive understanding of human social praxis as the nexus of verbal interaction, embodied practices, and tangible objects in the environment (www.social-objects.net).

Dr. Wagner has recently published overview papers on the role of conversation analysis in applied linguistics (Kasper & Wagner, 2014; Mortensen & Wagner, 2012). Eskildsen and Wagner (2015) have traced gestures in second language interactions over time and shown how gestures that occur in early uses of a word or a construction reappear in later uses. With Dennis Day (2014), he has published on Objects as tools for talk and they are currently editing a special issue on small textual objects (e.g., PostIts) in professional interaction. He is part of a Nordic network of teachers, designers, and researchers (languagelearninginthewild.com) to develop practices and material resources for second language learning outside of classrooms (Wagner, forthcoming).

References
Day, D., & Wagner, J. (2014). Objects as tools for talk. In M. Nevile, P. Haddington, T. Heinemann, & M. Rauniomaa (Eds.). Interacting with objects: Language, materiality, and social activity (pp. 101-123). Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company.

Eskildsen, S. W., & Wagner, J. (2015). Embodied L2 construction learning. Language Learning 65(2), 419–448.

Kasper, G., & Wagner, J. (2014). Conversation analysis in applied linguistics. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 34(1), 171-212.

Mortensen, K., & Wagner, J. (2012). Conversation analysis: Overview. Malden, MA: Wiley Blackwell.

Wagner, J. (forthcoming). Designing for language learning in the wild: Creating social infrastructures for second language learning. In T. Cadierno & S. W. Eskildsen (Eds.), Usage-based perspectives on second language learning. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

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