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International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching

Ed. by Jordens, Peter / Roberts, Leah

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Negotiation of meaning in child-child vs. adult-adult interactions: Evidence from low proficiency EFL learners

Amparo Lázaro-Ibarrola / Raúl Azpilicueta-Martinez
Published Online: 2019-12-04 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/iral-2019-0013


Although adult and child differences have been a central issue in Second Language Acquisition (SLA) little is still known about the relationship between age and interaction. Within the interactionist framework, whose main claim is that conversation, especially when it generates negotiation of meaning, facilitates learning, researchers have suggested that children negotiate less than adults, at different rates and producing fewer moves to check comprehension. However, these claims have been made by comparing children and adults from different studies. In order to offer a more reliable comparison, we examine the interactions of 14 adults and 20 children, at similar levels of proficiency, performing a communicative oral task with (level and age) matched peers.

Unlike suggested, children produce as much negotiation of meaning as adults and both age groups primarily use their moves to prevent misunderstandings. In light of these results, some previous claims are questioned and refined.

Keywords: negotiation of meaning strategies; children interaction; English as a foreign language; age factor


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About the article

Published Online: 2019-12-04

Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad (Funder Id:http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/501100003329, Grant Number: FFI2012-32212).

Citation Information: International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching, ISSN (Online) 1613-4141, ISSN (Print) 0019-042X, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/iral-2019-0013.

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