Collaborative Mobilizations of Interbodied Communication for Cooperative Action

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Modern Language Journal

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Drawing on usage-based approaches to the study of language learning—including recent research on mobility in interaction, embodied approaches to cognition and communicative action, and innovations in place-based language learning in the wild—this article uses methods from ethnomethodological conversation analysis to investigate video recordings of 3 English language learners playing an augmented reality game that advocated for environmental stewardship. The analysis focused on 1 aspect of the game, an oral report about different green technologies, which was repeated 3 times due to technical difficulties. Analysis reveals emergent interactional dynamics that included (a) the use and creative reuse of multiword expressions, and (b) aligned interbodied cooperative practices that together supported (c) the building of a discourse structure for making oral reports that were part of the game narrative. The analysis highlights the semipermeable, collaboratively produced, and emergent nature of grammar for social action. Implications for pedagogy include (a) the consideration of structured unpredictability in language task design, and (b) a (re)conceptualization of language structure and language development as both an individual and group achievement.


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