Dialogue With Bakhtin on Second and Foreign Language Learning: New Perspectives
Joan Kelly Hall
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This volume is the first to explore links between the Russian linguist Mikhail Bakhtin's theoretical insights about language and practical concerns with second and foreign language learning and teaching. Situated within a strong conceptual framework and drawing from a rich empirical base, it reflects recent scholarship in applied linguistics that has begun to move away from formalist views of language as universal, autonomous linguistic systems, and toward an understanding of language as dynamic collections of cultural resources. According to Bakhtin, the study of language is concerned with the dialogue existing between linguistic elements and the uses to which they are put in response to the conditions of the moment. Such a view of language has significant implications for current understandings of second- and foreign-language learning.
The contributors draw on some of Bakhtin's more significant concepts, such as dialogue, utterance, heteroglossia, voice, and addressivity to examine real world contexts of language learning. The chapters address a range of contexts including elementary- and university-level English as a second language and foreign language classrooms and adult learning situations outside the formal classroom. The text is arranged in two parts. Part I, "Contexts of Language Learning and Teaching," contains seven chapters that report on investigations into specific contexts of language learning and teaching. The chapters in Part II, "Implications for Theory and Practice," present broader discussions on second and foreign language learning using Bakhtin's ideas as a springboard for thinking.
This is a groundbreaking volume for scholars in applied linguistics, language education, and language studies with an interest in second and foreign language learning; for teacher educators; and for teachers of languages from elementary to university levels. It is highly relevant as a text for graduate-level courses in applied linguistics and second- and foreign-language education.
She has found convergence of her two research interests by studying the linguis tic minority child in various classroom contexts in light of the teacher's be liefs and practices. More recently, she has begun teaching and conducting research on migrant workers from Mexico, hoping to understand processes by which these students solve problems in their second language. Gergana Vitanova is Assistant Professor at the University of Central Florida, where she teachers TESOL and applied linguistics
tools to create mean ing through interaction with each other. Their findings indicate that the students' engagement in multimodal representations facilitated their ac cess to the social life in the classroom, which in turn opened the door to the 1. INTRODUCTION: DIALOGUE WITH BAKHTIN 5 learning of English. Iddings et al. conclude that the most important factor in creating meaning was the developing relationship between the two inter actants, in which they used various signs, such as
(1981, 1984, 1986, 1993) and Valentin Voloshinov (1973, 1976), whose contributions we discuss later in this chapter. More recent contributions to dialogical thinking include those of Rommetveit (1992); Markova and Foppa (1990, 1991); Markova, Graumann, and Foppa (1995); Linell (1998); and Lahteenmaki (1998a, 1998b). First we must establish that neither Bakhtin nor the members of the Bakhtin Circle addressed the issue of metalinguistic awareness and only passingly re ferred to foreign language
In our peda gogical views, we refer especially to the ideas discussed by Leo van Lier (1996) and to the still-scarce but increasing literature that attempts to bridge dialogism to language-learning studies or classroom research (see, e.g., Dysthe, 1996, 2000, Morgan & Cain, 2000). DISCUSSION In discussing our examples in the framework of dialogism, we have tried to tackle a problem inherent to studying children's metalinguistic awareness. We have argued that children do not only necessarily
speakers of English, on the other hand, that impeded their acquisition of English, or even that, once Vera, Sylvia, and Boris found that they could func tion in their second language milieu, they lost motivation to perfect their ac cents and their linguistic structures. A poststructuralist would disagree and would rightly point to the invisible power structures that lock subjects into so cial positions. In articulating a micro-sociolinguistics of everyday life—with a focus on the ordinary