Language and Sociocultural Theory, Vol 4, No 2 (2017)

Audio glosses as a participant in L2 dialogues: Evidence of mediation and microgenesis during information-gap activities

Theresa A Antes
Issued Date: 13 Sep 2017

Abstract


The current article examines the use of audio glosses by intermediate-level learners of English as a Second Language (ESL), to determine to what extent the glosses provide mediation during the language learning / language use process. Close evaluation of language produced by two dyads shows that the computer, through the audio glosses, frequently serves as a third partner during the information-gap tasks in which the partners are engaged. Mediation is both graduated, appearing more frequently in earlier than in later tasks, and contingent, accessible to learners at their request, but not provided otherwise. Analyzed excerpts illustrate that learners access the glosses for a variety of purposes (confirmation and retrieval of lexical items, refinement of pronunciation). The glosses thus serve as an on-call tutor, allowing learners to add to their productive vocabulary and to improve the quality of the language that they produce, while still focusing on effective communication with their partners.

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DOI: 10.1558/lst.31234

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