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Handbook for Foreign Language Learning in Online Tandems and Educational Settings


Hermann Funk, Manja Gerlach and Dorothea Spaniel-Weise

This book is about foreign language learning in non-formal Online Tandems. The collected papers by contributors who have expertise in the field of Language Pedagogy and Foreign Language Acquisition gather information on online interactions, such as the initiation of tandems, the mentoring of online activities and learners’ interaction, as well as the assessment of the processes at hand. The handbook targets stakeholders, institutions of higher education, language teachers and tandem trainers at educational institutions that want to set up Online Tandems especially designed for third language learners. The book is the result of the three-year project L3TASK carried out at five universities in Austria (Wien), Germany (Jena) and Spain (Alicante, Barcelona, Madrid) and associated partner institutions in China. It was funded by the European Commission in the frame of the Life Long Learning Programme.

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2.3 Who Speaks What Language to Whom and How?(Eva Vetter)


Eva Vetter University of Vienna

2.3 Who Speaks What Language to Whom and How?

Abstract: This contribution discusses basic principles of language learning in eTandems alongside Fishman’s fundamental question on human communication. eTandems are described as a unique learning setting due to their multimodal nature, the range of situations they bring about and their cosmopolitanism. It is shown in how far the language learning opportunities offered in eTandems rather derive from supplementary qualities of this setting than from the communication possibilities that eTandems do not provide compared to face-to-face encounters. The degree of formality is discussed as another feature of eTandems, i.e. the relationship with language learning in formal contexts. Furthermore, autonomy, reciprocity and transcultural learning are presented as principles learners ought to comply with in eTandems. The learners’ mutual agreement and understanding is a prerequisite for establishing reciprocity in the eTandem partnership. At the same time transcultural learning is part of the Tandem exchange and promotes transcultural abilities. With respect to language, eTandems are presented as a multilingual endeavour in which languages besides the two target languages may successfully find their place.

1 Introduction

Tandem language learning is an exciting experience for at least two persons, i.e. the two who interact in order to increase their competence in certains languages. If language learning Tandems are situated within an instructional setting, it is likely to be thrilling for a third person as well – the language teacher or coach who prepares, accompanies and...

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