Noticing Words in the Wild

  • Tim GreerEmail author
Part of the Educational Linguistics book series (EDUL, volume 38)


This chapter draws on multi-modal Conversation Analysis to examine instances of mundane L2 interaction in which participants orient to learning new lexical items. Such sequences are initiated when one speaker pays attention to an instance of language use, either in the just-prior talk or via some environmentally available target word. This typically involves a repetition of the target lexical item which topicalizes it for the other participants and can lead to the sort of talk regularly seen in language classrooms, including explanations, alternative formulations and intersubjective repair. Occasionally such sequences also include explicit noticing of learning itself, which momentarily indexes the co-participants’ relative identity categories. The study tracks episodes of L2 talk in two distinctive non-classroom contexts: (1) English dinner table talk between a Japanese student and his American homestay host family and (2) mundane Japanese talk between non-Japanese clients and Japanese hairdressers. The analysis examines the layered manner in which elements such as intonation, gaze, gesture and physical objects co-occur with the talk to accomplish noticing as an orientation to language learning. Epistemic asymmetries made relevant in the interaction afford novice language users access to the lexical resources they require and locally ascribe the expert speaker with teacher-like qualities.


Noticing Conversation analysis Second language interaction Vocabulary learning Repair Socially distributed cognition 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Languages and CommunicationKobe UniversityKobeJapan

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