Call for Papers – 2017


International conference

Interactional Competences and Practices in a Second Language (ICOP-L2)

University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland, 18-20 January 2017

Conference theme

Throughout the past two decades, interactional competences and practices have gained unprecedented attention in research on second language (L2) acquisition, use and education. Following Dell Hymes’ conceptualization of communicative competence, various lines of research have for long been concerned with pragmatic development in an L2, mostly focusing on the realization of speech acts. Yet, it is only recently that research has started to systematically investigate how people’s capacity to engage in social interaction is affected in their L2 and how their ability to participate in such interaction evolves over time.

When participating in social interactions, we orient to each other, we synchronize our mutual conducts, we make recognizable our actions to others and we finely monitor the trajectories of other people’s actions. Opening a telephone conversation, launching a conversational storytelling, agreeing or disagreeing with others, or simply taking a turn at talk all involve highly organized socially coordinated procedures that, most typically, are experienced by participants as non-problematic in L1 talk. However, what happens when people move into an L2?

Under the heading ‘L2 interactional competences and practices in a second language’ (ICOP-L2), this conference brings together researchers from various horizons (e.g. linguistics, education, sociology) who investigate how people engage in second language talk-in-interaction: What are the basic ingredients of L2 interactional competence? How does such competence vary across situations and over time? How do L2 speakers use the linguistic resources at their disposal to accomplish social actions in coordination with others? How do linguistic and other resources (gaze, gesture, posture) work together in L2 talk? How does social interaction structure learning processes and learning products? How can L2 interactional competence and learning through interaction be addressed in educational contexts?  These are among the questions that will be tackled during the conference.

The conference papers and panels will be organized in three thematic strands:

  • L2 talk-in-interaction: This strand is concerned with describing the practices of L2 talk and with the (multi)semiotic resources speakers mobilize to accomplish these practices, without necessarily addressing issues of learning.
  • Learning-in-interaction: This strand comprises research on learning processes, activities and opportunities in social interaction in a variety of settings, including both the language classroom and learning ‘in the wild’.
  • L2 interactional competence: This strand includes studies investigating the development of interactional competence over time as well as contributions addressing challenges for the assessment and the teaching of interactional competence.

Keynote speakers

  • Joan Kelly Hall, Penn State University, USA
  • Søren Eskildsen, University of Southern Denmark, DK
  • John Hellermann, Portland State University, USA
  • Spencer Hazel, Nottingham University, UK

Invited symposium

An invited symposium, organized by Tim Greer (Kobe University, Japan), addresses current trends in longitudinal research on interactional competences.

Pre-conference workshops (18 January 2017)

Three pre-conference workshops, addressed specifically (but not exclusively) to young researchers, provide hands-on training on methodological aspects of the analysis of L2 competences and practices in naturally-occurring data. Registration will be on a first-come-first-served basis.

  • Johannes Wagner, University of Southern Denmark, DK: Designing longitudinal research on interactional competence 
  • Evelyne Berger, University of Helsinki, FI: Building collections
  • Adam Brandt, Newcastle University, UK, and Olcay Sert, Hacettepe University, TR: Conducting comparative research on L2 interactions 


Proposals are invited for individual papers and panels (colloquia). Individual papers will be granted a 30-minute slot including discussion; Panels will cover one or two 90-minute slots. For further details on the submission guidelines please refer to the conference website:

All papers and panel abstracts need to be submitted before 23:59 local time in Switzerland (GTM +1) on 15 May 2016 through the conference website.

Important dates

Submission and registration opening: 20 April 2016

Submission deadline: 15 May 2016

Notification of acceptance: 31 July 2016

Pre-conference workshops: 18 January 2017

Conference: 19-20 January 2017

Conference co-chairs

Evelyne Berger, University of Helsinki and University of Neuchâtel

Simona Pekarek Doehler, University of Neuchâtel

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