Faculté des lettres et sciences humaines

Interactions et apprentissages dans des séquences d'exploitation de vocabulaire

Fasel Lauzon, Virginie

In: Revue Tranel (Travaux neuchâtelois de linguistique), 2008, vol. 48, p. 83-104

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    Vocabulary explanations are frequent in the second language classroom. They generally appear in order to solve a communication problem and take the form of relatively short side-sequences. These explanations are sometimes described as involving an expert (the teacher) and a learner with knowledge being transmitted from the first to the second, or as being a way for the teacher to test the learner's knowledge by asking display questions requesting an explanation that is in fact not needed for comprehension. But it sometimes happens that a vocabulary explanation is collaboratively elaborated by both the learners and the teacher. In this article we argue that these sequences are especially relevant for the acquisition of lexical items but also of discursive and interactional resources. Based on a corpus of 40 French L2 lessons recorded in the Swiss German part of Switzerland and adopting a methodology inspired by Conversation Analysis and Sociocultural Theory, the present study will show how learners, by collaborating in the construction of meaning during vocabulary explanations, organize linguistic, discursive and interactional means that allow them to acquire new vocabulary items and to participate in the interaction in a meaningful way. We will also discuss the opportunities for acquisition entailed in such sequences.