Interactional Alignment in Task-based L2 Performance: Evidence from Dutch

Date: 18 January 2012 Time: 3.30 pm

Venue: Bowland North SR22

The Second Language Learning and Teaching (SLLAT) research group are pleased to host the following presentation:


Dr. Marije Michel

University of Mannheim, Germany

This paper investigates interactional alignment (Costa et al. 2008, Pickering & Garrod 2004) in non-native and native oral task-based performance of second language learners of Dutch. Alignment is the tendency of interlocutors to copy each other's speech at all linguistic levels, e.g., morphosyntax, lexicon. The study compares the production of L2 learners interacting on argumentative tasks to L1 speakers' performance acting on the same tasks.

Task performance is evaluated using global measures of complexity, accuracy, and fluency (CAF). In this talk the focus, however, lies on newly developed means to gauge alignment at the phrase and word level. The presentation highlights similarities and differences between syntactic and lexical alignment in the two target groups. It explains the findings in relation to theories of interaction (e.g., Long 1989, Gass & Mackey 2007) and psycholinguistic aspects of alignment and priming ( i.e., the tendency of speakers to reuse a word or structure of recent discourse, cf. Bock & Loebell 1990, Dubey et al. 2005, Pickering & Garrod 2004, Trofimovich & McDonough 2011).

Finally, I will discuss educational implications of alignment and priming (McDonough 2006, McDonough & Mackey 2008, Marsden 2009) by presenting directions for future research into task-based interactional priming.


Who can attend: Anyone


Further information

Organising departments and research centres: Linguistics and English Language



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