Language Play: Implications for the Second-Language Learner

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Tara E. Tarpey


Although humor and linguistic play are common in authentic speech and ubiquitous in the communicative classroom, language play has received little serious attention in the field of second language acquisition. The purpose of this paper is to examine the potential effects of language play upon second language acquisition in both children and adult learners. Studies by Aronsson and Cekaite (2005), Belz (2002), Bell (2005), Bongartz and Schneider (2003), Broner and Tarone (2001), Lucas (2005), Peck (1980), and Warner (2004) are reviewed. The results indicate that second language play may lead to focus on form through noticing, comparison of language forms within and between languages, and corrective feedback from interlocutors; additionally, the ability to play with language seems to be an indicator of proficiency and multicompetence and may instigate pushed output (Swain 2000).

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APPLE Award Winning Papers in AL & TESOL