The article describes a conversational practice used by L2 speakers in acquiring new technical terms in the course of everyday workplace interaction on a construction site. In the process of searching for a word, the speaker identifies a referent by embodied means and asks the L1 interlocutor what it is called in Norwegian. When the term is provided, it is repeated, often with emphatic prosody, displaying the L2 speaker’s identification of the word and ability to pronounce it. This repeat is treated as a request for confirmation by the L1 speaker, who often also provides further repeats of the word in question. By expanding the word search sequence beyond the identification of the word searched for, the participants show an orientation to the word as a learnable, that is, as something to be memorized and rehearsed in the conversation. The activity of teaching and learning technical vocabulary is thus treated as a relevant activity in and of itself, at the expense of the progression of the workplace task at hand.
Journal of Pragmatics – Elsevier
Published: Mar 1, 2018
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