Based on recent research in cognitive science, interaction, and second language acquisition (SLA), I describe a sociocognitive approach to SLA. This approach adopts a non-cognitivist view of cognition: Instead of an isolated computational process in which input is extracted from the environment and used to build elaborate internal knowledge representations, cognition is seen as adaptive intelligence, enabling our close and sensitive alignment to our ecosocial environment in order to survive in it. Mind, body, and world are thus functionally integrated from a sociocognitive perspective instead of radically separated.
Learning plays a major part in this scenario: If environments are ever-changing, then adaptation to them is continuous. Learning is part of our natural ability to so adapt, while retaining traces of that adaptation in the integrated mind-body-world system. Viewed in this way, SLA is adaptation to/engagement with L2 environments.
Interaction also plays a central role in sociocognitive SLA: We learn L2s through interacting with/in L2 environments. Founded on innate, universal skills which evolutionarily preceded language and make it possible, interaction supports SLA at every turn. Having presented this argument, I illustrate it by analyzing a video clip of an EFL tutoring session, indicating various ‘sociocognitive tools’ for interactive alignment which undergird L2 development.