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Title: Second language micro-development of an English learner of Chinese :a sociocultural case study
Authors: Zhang, Rui
Issue Date: 2019
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: Compared to many well-researched European languages, the research on the teaching and learning of Chinese as a second/foreign language is far from adequate. The existing literature has focused intensively on the acquisition of the linguistic properties of Chinese, while fewer studies have focused on interactions in L2 Chinese classrooms. This sociocultural case study seeks to address this gap by examining the dynamic interaction between one English learner of L2 Chinese and the teachers in a UK university. More specifically, this study provides insights into how mediation is carried out in this particular context. Drawing on sociocultural theory (Vygotsky, 1978), and the construct of affordance in the ecological view of language teaching and learning (van Lier, 2000), this study examines 24 hours of classroom interaction recorded over two months in an L2 Chinese classroom in a UK university. A qualitative single case study design is chosen to uncover one particular learner’s language learning process in depth. Employing the microdiscourse analysis approach (van Compernolle, 2013, 2015), by focusing on the mediation sequences in interaction, the videoand audio-recordings of classroom interactional data are scrutinised. The findings suggest that in this classroom, mediation is processed by the language teachers and learners through the contingent use of a variety of linguistic, interactional and semiotic resources. These resources are interconnected and function in interactional practices such as scaffolding and co-regulation, create an affordance-rich interactional context in different teaching and learning activities. The findings also reveal that through the appropriation of mediational assistance, the learner demonstrates an emergent L2 linguistic development and L2 interactional competence. Based on the research findings, this study makes suggestions concerning the teaching of L2 Mandarin Chinese and the training of L2 Chinese teachers. In particular, for future research, the study recommends a shift of attention from the teaching of specific linguistic components of the L2, to the pivotal role of mediation and its dynamics in the language classroom. The findings of this study contribute to the existing literature of L2 classroom interaction and the interactional organism and mediational mechanism of the L2 Mandarin Chinese classroom, broaden the empirical database of L2 teaching and learning.
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences

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