Investigating the Co-construction of Collaborative Dialogue ‎in Synchronous Computer-Mediated Communication

Xuan Teng


Despite the growing interest in examining the link between peer-peer collaborative dialogue and second language development in recent years, much of the empirical work in this regard focused on face-to-face communication, leaving its operationalization in text-based synchronous computer-mediated communication (SCMC) largely unexplored. This study explores how episodes of collaborative dialogue around English idioms are carried out during SCMC-based dyadic interaction and their effectiveness in promoting vocabulary learning. Sixteen English learners accomplished two types of idiom learning tasks through SCMC-based collaboration and responded to a pretest, posttests, stimulated recall interviews, and reflective journals. Within a case study design, this study drew on chat transcripts, stimulated recall comments, reflective journal entries, pre and posttest scores for data analyses. The results suggested that in working together on the English idiom learning tasks, the dyads engaged in the four patterns of interaction that had emerged in face-to-face communication (Storch, 2002), notably collaborative, expert/novice, dominant/dominant, and dominant/passive. Moreover, the patterns seemed to be influenced by the nature of the tasks and the increase in the dyad members’ knowledge of the meanings of the target idioms. In addition, all dyads developed their knowledge about the meanings through their multiple encounters with the target idioms. Overall, the co-construction of collaborative dialogue in SCMC seemed to play an important role in English learners’ vocabulary learning and cognitive development.


collaborative dialogue, patterns of interaction, English idiom learning, SCMC, sociocultural ‎SLA

Full Text:



Copyright (c) 2019 Journal of Applied Linguistics and Language Research