The Medium and the Object: Foreign Language Classroom Discourse

  • Emma Riordan


The language classroom differentiates itself from other educational contexts, particularly in a communicative language teaching tradition, because the object of study and the medium of instruction are the target language. Recent research proposes that the first language (L1) should not be excluded as a potential tool for language teaching, taking into consideration cognitive processes for language acquisition as well as multilingual contexts where code-switching behaviour can be viewed as normal. In this chapter, I consider the language classroom as a kind of third space which exists between the target and local lingua-cultures. I discuss the use of the students’ L1 and target language, and consider the modifications that the teacher makes to his or her language use in the foreign language classroom. Navigating these decisions presents language teachers with discourse challenges which may have significant effects on learning outcomes.


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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emma Riordan
    • 1
  1. 1.German Department School of Languages, Literatures and CulturesUniversity College CorkCorkIreland

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