Contextualized Language Practices as Sites for Learning: Mealtime Talk in Short-Term Chinese Homestays

Celeste Kinginger, Sheng Hsun Lee, Qian Wu, Dali Tan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


When, in homestays abroad, mealtime is understood as key to the maintenance and development of family identity and involves routine gathering for nourishment and convivial talk, students attribute much of their language learning to these events. In this project, we adopt a microgenetic approach to the study of mealtime discourse as a learning opportunity for three American high school students of varying proficiency in Chinese and their Chinese hosts. Specifically, analysis of contextualized language practices at mealtime reveals the qualities of these interactions for learning Chinese and American culinary practices, related language, and associated ideologies. Our findings suggest that even short-term homestays can be particularly rich environments for language learning as hosts and students explore divergent views on the aesthetic, moral, and health-related dimensions of eating.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)716-740
Number of pages25
JournalApplied Linguistics
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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