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Conversation Analysis and language learning

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  06 February 2006

Paul Seedhouse
University of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK,


Interest in Conversation Analysis (CA) and its possible applications in the fields of language learning and language teaching has grown considerably over the last five years. There are now a range of publications which explore this area. The article therefore attempts to synthesise the current state of the research and identify the issues and problems that have arisen and those areas which are suitable for further research. This article starts with a brief introduction to CA methodology and then discusses the range of areas within the broad field of language learning and teaching in which CA has been applied: teaching languages for specific purposes; language teaching materials design; language proficiency assessment; language classroom interaction; NS–NNS (native/non-native speaker) talk; and code-switching. It then discusses the relationship between CA, Applied Linguistics and Second Language Acquisition, and examines the complex issue of what CA can contribute to the study of ‘learning’. The issues are illustrated by an example of a CA analysis of language learning processes. The article proposes that there are now three distinct approaches to the application of CA methodology to the field of language learning and teaching. The article concludes by positioning CA as a social science research methodology and considers possible future directions for research.

State of the Art
2005 Cambridge University Press

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