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  • Author or Editor: C. Cecilia Tocaimaza-Hatch x
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Metatalk (MT) emerges in interaction when learners, working through a linguistic problem, turn their attention to features of their language (Swain, 2000; Swain & Lapkin, 2002). One factor that influences how MT develops is learners’ language proficiency. This multiple-case study explored how high-proficiency Spanish L2 and heritage learners engaged in lexical MT during a text reconstruction activity. Key findings from the analysis of learners’ lexical language-related episodes (LLREs) and commentaries from a debriefing interview revealed that (a) learners targeted mostly word meaning with few exchanges on spelling and pronunciation, (b) LLRE frequencies were comparable among dyads and learner groups, (c) learners described inferencing processes toward solving LLREs as internal and often not verbalized, thus demonstrating a transition toward self-regulation, and (d) although capable of producing MT in Spanish, learners often gravitated toward English in their metalinguistic talk. MT was materialized as dyadic collaboration when learners sought an answer together; role-taking emerged as one partner took the expert role, at least momentarily, and provided an answer to the linguistic question posed by their partner.

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In: Heritage Language Journal


This case study describes the interactional competence of one U.S. Spanish heritage language learner (HLL), during a five-week study abroad program in Spain that included service-learning. Data were drawn primarily from audiotapes, reflection essays, and an exit interview. The audiotapes included “Mía’s” conversations at the service-learning site, a summer camp for young children. The three resource categories in Young’s (2019) model of Practice Theory of identity, linguistic, and interactional resources facilitated the analysis of Mía’s intercultural competence.

The qualitative analysis describes, first, Mía’s resources during discursive practices with children and peer teachers at the camp, reflecting the construction of her identity as an educator. Second, we examine possible connections between Mía’s resources and her Spanish learning history. We show that the linguistic and interactional resources observed in her interactions are congruent with her HLL background, as seen in her lexical choices and flexibility interacting with diverse interlocutors. These findings of one HLL’s linguistic activity shed light on her interactional competence in this context, thus contributing to the literature on HLL s in study abroad.

In: Heritage Language Journal