Language learning at the dinner table: Two case studies of French homestays

Celeste Kinginger, Julia Carnine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Drawing on Vygotsky's insights on the sociocultural origins of development, we examine the French homestay as a site for learning, with a focus on the dinner table. Based on audio recordings of mealtime interactions, interviews, and field notes, we present two case studies of French language learners and their host families. “Amelia” lived for one semester with an “empty nest” couple whose prior experience of interacting with learners had shaped a distinct folk pedagogical style. “Irène” was hosted for a full academic year by a family of four; over the course of the year, her hosts continually and explicitly assisted her involvement in multiparty family talk thus fostering Irène's ability to display a locally appropriate participatory conversational style. Our findings underscore the importance of attending to the host family's role and contribute to the evidence suggesting that communicative repertoires emerge from, and are shaped by, particular experiences of communication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)850-872
Number of pages23
JournalForeign Language Annals
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Linguistics and Language


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