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Expert–Novice Negotiation within Learning Opportunities in Online Intercultural Interactions

Modern Languages and Linguistics, University of Southampton, Southampton SO17 1BF, UK
Languages 2019, 4(1), 14;
Received: 16 January 2019 / Revised: 14 February 2019 / Accepted: 18 February 2019 / Published: 21 February 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue MOBILLE 2019)
PDF [555 KB, uploaded 27 March 2019]


Computer-mediated communication (CMC) and e-communication tools have introduced new pedagogical tools and activities that contribute to the development of language learners’ academic, multilingual, and intercultural skills and competences. Moreover, CMC has reinforced communication and collaboration between individuals and educational institutions through projects of intercultural language exchanges (ILE). Most of these exchanges idealise ‘nativeness’, and assert the L1 speaker as an expert ‘by default’. These models of ILE believe that the incorporation of a L1S is key to the creation of learning opportunities. This paper contests this belief. The one-to-one online video conversations took place on Skype between language learners of English and/or French over a period of four months. The dyads comprise the following speakers’ constellations: a L1S of French with a L1S of English, and a L1S of English with an Algerian (L2/LF of French and English). To assure equity in the use of languages, I scheduled two sessions every week, one in English and the second in French. This paper investigates the expert/novice dichotomy and how it is negotiated in the learning opportunities they have created. It also casts light on the speakers’ communicative strategies and linguaculture(s) included in overcoming intercultural misunderstanding and miscommunication when using or not using their L1, French and/or English. These intercultural interactions have uncovered that the novice–expert roles alternate between the speakers despite the language of communication and their L1s. The interactants used several strategies and channels, namely pragmatic strategies such as repetition, nonverbal cues to ask for clarification and signal intercultural misunderstandings, translanguaging and their multilingual repertoires in order to construct meaning, achieve their communicative goals or in case of the lack of linguistic resources. View Full-Text
Keywords: novice–expert identities; online video conversations; synchronous communication; intercultural interactions; English; French novice–expert identities; online video conversations; synchronous communication; intercultural interactions; English; French

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Benabdelkader, A. Expert–Novice Negotiation within Learning Opportunities in Online Intercultural Interactions. Languages 2019, 4, 14.

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