This study explores the field of ESL (English as a Second Language) classroom learning within a formal learning institution. Influenced by the sociocultural theory in SLA (Second Language Acquisition), the book sheds light on the question that has been boggling the minds of language practitioners and researchers: Why is ESL classroom talk the way it is? Based on a case study of a school in an ESL community, it argues persuasively that classroom talk may be linked in important ways to an operative sociocultural structure of ESL pedagogy over and above the classroom at the institutional level. The book examines issues which have here-to-fore been avoided by writers and researchers in current SLA writings and classroom studies. It confronts complex and complicated contextual and research methodological issues to make visible what has up to now been that elusive «structure» behind the oral practices in language classrooms. Research methods are drawn from language education and several disciplines within linguistics and the social sciences. Emerging from a multidisciplinary methodological framework are a number of surprising revelations about the meanings and functions of ESL classroom talk.