Solidarity, supportiveness and creative language use in second-language interpersonal talk
Second-language (L2) users frequently demonstrate a strong interest in developing, establishing and maintaining social relations with other L2 users through the medium of the second language and I argue in this thesis that this is often achieved through a variety of supportive and creative ways as interactants jointly construct interpersonal talk. My main aim in this thesis is to explore the workings of L2-L2 interpersonal language use and, as a secondary aim, to propose pedagogic intervention that will help the L2 learner to interact supportively and creatively in the target language. To develop this argument, I will build on the work on Aston and his description of how successful social relations in the target language are negotiated through supportiveness and solidarity and his use of the terms some and any (taken from Sacks, 1970-1971, and Schenkein, 1978) to examine how the L2 user can participate as a distinct individual in L2- L2 talk as opposed to interacting as an anonymous language user. Second-language interpersonal talk is problematic because the language user seeks to conform with others but, at the same time, wants to interact in creative ways. In discussing creative language use, I build on the work of Mead and his distinction between the creative I and the socially-conforming me and argue that L2-L2 creative language use is jointly constructed between second-language users as they seek to develop successful social relations. I aim to analyse the problematic nature of L2 interpersonal language by examining data collected on second-language users engaged in L2-L2 small talk in a target-language context and through interviews with such users. While building on Aston's description of solidarity and supportiveness in L2 interpersonal discourse, I also explore how creative language use allows the second-language user to achieve successful social relations and, at the same time, helps her to interact in her own distinctive way.