Interactional Features of Synchronous Computer-Mediated Communication in the Intermediate L2 Class

A Sociocultural Case Study


  • Mark Darhower University of Puerto Rico at Humacao



Synchronous Computer-Mediated Communication (CMC), Chat, Vygotskian Sociocultural Theory, Discourse Analysis


This study explores social interactive features of synchronous computer-mediated communication (CMC)--commonly known as "chat"--as such features unfolded in real time and developed over a nine-week period in two fourth-semester college Spanish classes. The study invoked the Vygotskian sociocultural theoretical framework and employed discourse analysis as a research tool to describe and explain outstanding features of chat room communication. Specific interactional features examined are intersubjectivity, off-task discussion, greetings and leave-takings, identity exploration and role play, humor and sarcasm, and use of the L1 (English). Through these communicative behaviors, learners appropriated the chat room environment, transforming it into a learner-centered discourse community governed by communicative autonomy and the use of language and discourse functions that go beyond those encountered in the typical L2 classroom.

Author Biography

  • Mark Darhower, University of Puerto Rico at Humacao

    Mark Darhower received his Ph.D. in Spanish Applied Linguistics from the University of Pittsburgh in 2000. He has published numerous software and textbook reviews and presented his work at CALICO’s symposia. Currently, he is Assistant Professor of English and Spanish at the University of Puerto Rico at Humacao.


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How to Cite

Darhower, M. (2013). Interactional Features of Synchronous Computer-Mediated Communication in the Intermediate L2 Class: A Sociocultural Case Study. CALICO Journal, 19(2), 249-277.