Ch@t @lign – Second language alignment in digital interaction
Linguistic alignment, the phenomenon that people in conversation tend to quickly adapt to each other by adopting a joint repertoire of lexical items, morphosyntactic structures, phonological contours and even gestures and gaze patterns, is a well-researched concept of human interaction. Theoretically, it is related to what psycholinguists call priming (i.e., reusing a linguistic item of recent discourse) as well as the concept of accommodation in social psychology. In their seminal work, Pickering and Garrod (e.g., 2004) argue that automatic and implicit alignment is a prerequisit for successful dialogue.
In this lecture I will shed light on my research into alignment in a second language (L2). Using a combination of methodological approaches including eye-tracking, stimulated recall and corpus-based text analyses, I have been exploring the social and linguistic processes underlying L2 alignment. Data come from lab-based experiments and classroom implementations, where alignment has been used as a didactic tool during digital chat interactions. The findings shed light on the hypothesis that in L2 interaction, alignment might only partially draw on automatic processes, while strategic behaviour and explicit choices to follow an interaction partner or not can play an important role.