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This article reviews conversation analytic research on explanations in pedagogical interaction, particularly in language learning classrooms. In reviewing this literature, this paper aims to provide a comprehensive account of what is interactionally involved when giving pedagogical explanations so that future research investigating the effectiveness of these kinds of explanations can be appropriately measured. The paper first discusses characteristics of explanation as interactional phenomena, namely that they are sequentially organized, either planned or unplanned, and either monologically or dialogically organized. Then, the paper details how explanations in three particular linguistic domains (i.e., pronunciation, grammar, and vocabulary) are accomplished interactionally. In doing so, this paper highlights similarities and differences across linguistic domains that are frequently found in language learning classrooms. The paper ends by identifying patterns across pedagogical explanations and by suggesting directions for future research.
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