Interactional Features of Synchronous Computer-Mediated Communication in the Intermediate L2 Class: A Sociocultural Case Study
This study explores social interactive features of synchronous computer- mediated communication (CMC)—commonly known as “chat”—as such features unfolded in real time and developed over a nine-week period in two fourth-semester college Spanish classes. The study invoked the Vygotskian sociocultural theoretical framework and employed discourse analysis as a research tool to describe and explain outstanding features of chat room communication. Specific interactional features examined are intersubjectivity, off-task discussion, greetings and leave-takings, identity exploration and role play, humor and sarcasm, and use of the L1 (English). Through these communicative behaviors, learners appropriated the chat room environment, transforming it into a learner-centered discourse community governed by communicative autonomy and the use of language and discourse functions that go beyond those encountered in the typical L2 classroom.