Complexity and interaction: comparing the development of L1 and L2
In research into first and second language development, the focus has mainly been either on the formal features of learner language alone (both L1 and L2) or on the interaction between learners and their caretakers (L1) or native speaker peers (L2).These research traditions have been kept a part even though it has been widely acknowledged that both first and second languages are appropriated essentially in social interaction. This paper aims to strengthen the connection between social and formal approaches by combining interactional views with those focusing on the structural complexity of learner language. Some excerpts from L1 and L2 interaction data (in the Finnish language) are discussed. It is suggested that segmentation of linguistic material occurs in everyday situations and serves as a link between interaction and the growth of structural complexity in learner language. To situate this argument into a broader theoretical framework, various socially oriented research paradigms are briefly discussed.