Wednesday Seminar: Traces of language learning over time: A longitudinal Conversation Analysis of informal second language conversations

Jenny Gudmundsen (Doctoral Research Fellow, MultiLing) will give a talk on her in-progress PhD project about informal language learning at language cafés. 

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Because of distancing during the Covid-19 pandemic, language cafés moved to video-mediated settings to continue informal language training for language learners. This talk zooms in on video recordings of naturally occurring interactions of second language (L2) and first language Norwegian speakers at digital language cafés. Using longitudinal Conversation Analysis (CA), I analyze how participants utilize technological resources such as the mobile phone and chat function in vocabulary-oriented sequences in video-mediated L2 interactions. For this seminar, I will present the theoretical and methodological framework of the project, show some of my initial findings and discuss some of the challenges and opportunities for further directions.

The data for this study are part of an ongoing longitudinal collection. Thus, I also analyze how the participants’ use of multimodal resources in similar sequences varies over time (Wagner et al., 2018). Alongside video-recordings of the naturally occurring interactions, I conduct short interviews with the participants after each session at the language café. In this way, I get a glimpse of the participants’ immediate reflections and perspectives on their own understanding and learning. 

One finding is the participants’ orientation to the chat as a relevant resource in the co-construction of identifying linguistic items in vocabulary-oriented sequences. Four examples illustrate how the L2 speaker’s development of the use of chat in learning-related sequences intertwines with his development of interactional competence.

Another phenomenon of interest is what I propose to call video-mediated mobile-showing activities (Raclaw, Robles and DiDomenico, 2016, Licoppe, 2017). More specifically, it is when a participant presents a mobile phone to the web camera as an object of joint attention in a video-mediated setting, and uses it to share text, visual aspects or sound with co-participants. I argue that the participants’ orientation to video-mediated showing activities is crucial in the co-constructed work of identifying the referent.

The study contributes to the growing field of development of L2 interactional competence (IC) in video-mediated interaction (e.g. Balaman, 2016), language learning outside of classroom settings (Hellermann et al., 2019) and «the multimodal turn» in second language acquisition (SLA) research (Majlesi & Markee, 2019).



Balaman, U. (2016). A conversation analytic study on the development of interactional competence in English in an online task‐oriented environment Unpublished doctoral thesis, Hacettepe University. 

Hellermann, J., Eskildsen, S., Pekarek Doehler, S., Piirainen-Marsch, A. (eds.), Conversation Analytic Research on Learning-in-Action: The Complex Ecology of L2 Interaction in the Wild. Berlin: Springer.

Majlesi, A. & Markee, N. (2019). 247 Multimodality in Second Language Talk.

Wagner, J., Pekarek Doehler, S. and González Martínez, E. (2018). Longitudinal Research on the Organization of Social Interaction: Current Developments and  Methodological  Challenges. In: Doehler, S.P., Wagner, J. and González Martínez, E. (Ed.), Longitudinal Studies on the Organization of Social  Interaction (pp. 3-35). London:  Palgrave macmillan.


Jenny Gudmundsen is a Doctoral Research Fellow at MultiLing – Center for Multilingualism in Society Across the Lifespan. She holds an MA in Rhetorics and communications. Before starting her PhD, she worked as a communication consultant at Gambit Hill+Knowlton Strategies, and has previously worked as a communication advisor at the Public Affairs division of the Royal Norwegian Air Force staff. Her research focuses on informal language learning at language cafés. 


Published Dec. 4, 2020 3:52 PM - Last modified Dec. 7, 2020 10:23 AM