Towards an Epistemology of Second Language Learning in the Wild

  • Johannes WagnerEmail author
Part of the Educational Linguistics book series (EDUL, volume 38)


This chapter argues that a new epistemology for the field of SLA, rooted in sociology rather than in psychology, is taking form with radical consequences for the organization of second language practices, including learning and teaching. Central elements in this new epistemology are the following elements to be discussed in the chapter:
  1. 1.

    Learning is bound to participation in the life world and therefore to the personal history of each learner.

  2. 2.

    Spoken language is the primordial mode of mundane social interaction.

  3. 3.

    Classrooms need to feed on the everyday practices of the students and to center on support students to establish life world relations.

  4. 4.

    In the social interactions in which language learners engage, trouble in the talk will often trigger repair practices through which new language material is offered by the co-participants.

The chapter outlines the argument and methodology that lie behind this new epistemology, drawing on Ethnomethodology (EM) and Conversation Analysis (CA), thereby reformulating second language learning as an embodied, sociological project. Finally, the chapter discusses the consequences of this sociological perspective on learning for conceptualizing second language teaching in the form of the development of resources for creating social infrastructures for learning.


Collection Documentary method Ecological validity Embodiment Language teaching epistemology Social infrastructure 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Design and CommunicationUniversitetsparken 1KoldingDenmark

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