The Organization of Off-task Talk in Second Language Classrooms

  • Numa Markee


How do we know when second/foreign language (S/FL) learners are ‘off-task’ during small group work? Teachers and learners probably know intuitively when this kind of event occurs. However, there is no empirical work on how such talk is constructed. This chapter uses conversation analysis (CA) to explicate the achievement of off-task talk in terms of its sequential placement, and examines the difficulty of maintaining such talk in the face of co-occurring on-task talk in the wider classroom. Finally, the chapter discusses the value of CA insights for second language acquisition (SLA) studies, classroom research (CR) and S/FL teacher education and training.


Language Teaching Conversation Analysis Classroom Research Sequential Placement Small Group Work 
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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2005

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  • Numa Markee

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