Introduction: On the Complex Ecology of Language Learning ‘in the Wild’

  • Søren W. EskildsenEmail author
  • Simona Pekarek Doehler
  • Arja Piirainen-Marsh
  • John Hellermann
Part of the Educational Linguistics book series (EDUL, volume 38)


This introduction explicates the central issues informing the chapters in the volume. We outline the epistemological development of Second Language Acquisition research as it has evolved from being predominantly individual-cognitive to a more pluralistic endeavor in which social approaches to cognition and learning are becoming central. Social interaction has been recognized as key to language learning since the 1970’s but the field is still lacking in research that studies the everyday social-interactional ecology in which the L2 speaker acts. We argue that it is time to broaden contexts for empirical investigations to study language learning in the full ecology of ‘the wild’, that is, in out-of-classroom, real world settings that put into play the multisemiotic resources inhabiting the worlds of L2 speakers.

The contributions to the volume scrutinize the affordances of ‘the wild’ for the development of L2 interactional competence, investigate how L2 speakers configure learning opportunities in the wild, and analyze possible ways of integrating in-the-wild-experiences into the L2 classroom agenda. Leading to new empirical understandings of the richness of the affordances for L2 learning that emerge in people’s lifeworlds, this affects our conception of L2 learning, as product and process, and holds important implications for teaching practices.


Second language acquisition (SLA) Learning in the wild Usage-based Conversation analysis 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Søren W. Eskildsen
    • 1
    Email author
  • Simona Pekarek Doehler
    • 2
  • Arja Piirainen-Marsh
    • 3
  • John Hellermann
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Design and CommunicationUniversity of Southern DenmarkSønderborgDenmark
  2. 2.Center for Applied LinguisticsUniversity of NeuchâtelNeuchâtelSwitzerland
  3. 3.Department of Language and Communication StudiesUniversity of JyväskyläJyväskyläFinland
  4. 4.Applied LinguisticsPortland State UniversityPortlandUSA

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