The present study explores the influence of online chat communication and hybrid social-pedagogical contexts on getting acquainted behaviours. Using discourse analytic techniques and frequency counts, we examine patterns of questions and self-disclosures (SD) enacted in dyadic text chat encounters between four female second language (L2) learners of Italian and their male Italian first-language (L1) conversational partners. The results reveal the participants' strong orientation toward getting acquainted as a social activity, as well as an aid in achieving pedagogical goals. Findings suggest that unacquainted participants who engage in chat interaction for learning quickly adapt to this unique environment and competently achieve both social and pedagogical objectives. In the absence of important interactional cues such as facial expressions and prosody, questions and self-disclosure emerge as key resources that support the participants' goals. The participants' social-pedagogical orientation and competent use of text chat are further evidenced through behaviours that include: prolonging SD sequences through questions and other strategies that extend topical conversation; establishing topic relevance before offering or inviting SD; showing preference for prompted or unprompted sequence-medial as opposed to unprompted sequence-initial SD; and maintaining or resuming topical conversation when SD-focused conversation trajectories are disrupted by repair sequences.
- Computer-mediated communication
- Getting acquainted
- L1-L2 interaction
- Online interaction