Written synchronous computer mediated communication (SCMC or text-chat) is a pervasive means of human interaction in modern society – in particular, among generations using social media such as Facebook and Skype. In a globalized world, SCMC often occurs in a second language (L2), not least in English being used as a lingua franca. As such, SCMC is an acknowledged site for language learning practice and development.  Despite its widespread use, we have a rather limited understanding of how SCMC influences L2 development. In particular, it remains poorly understood what role written chat interactions among L2 learning peers might play in Second Language Acquisition (SLA). Earlier research has identified written SCMC as ‘the ideal medium for students to benefit from interaction’ (Smith 2005: 34) due to its specific nature: a hybrid between ephemeral interactive spoken and slow long-lasting written communication. Written SCMC creates relevant opportunities for learners to attend to and reflect on both the form and the content of an L2 message.

In this talk I will review the current literature on how and why peer interaction via SCMC may add to L2 development. Based on my own experimental work into primed production during peer SCMC (Michel, submitted, Michel & Stiefenhöfer, in prep) and methodological advances in SCMC research (e.g., the eye tracking study Michel & Smith, in prep; Anthony & Michel, in prep) I will discuss the effectiveness of peer text chat interaction when used for second language practice.

All are welcome to attend.  Please contact Dee Daglish for further information.

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