chapter  1
35 Pages

On the Nature and the Development of L2 Interactional Competence

State of the Art and Implications for Praxis
WithSimona Pekarek Doehler

This chapter discusses the state of the art in empirical research on second language (L2) interactional competence (IC) and its development. It analyses the move from a research focus on communicative competence towards a concern with IC and point out the distinctive characteristics of the latter. The chapter presents how research addresses L2 IC and also discusses the cumulative evidence stemming from existing studies as to the basic features of L2 IC development. It highlights challenges and avenues for research, as well as issues that are critical for L2 teaching and testing. The way the notion of communicative competence has been dealt with subsequent to Dell Hymes’s initial statement has rapidly come under critique from interactionally oriented research and from language socialization studies. Changing patterns of participation are conceptualized in terms of increasing interactional skills as regards turn-taking management and the sequential organization of the activity by the target learner.