Intrapersonal communication and internalization in the second language classroom

James Lantolf

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

58 Scopus citations


This chapter considers an aspect of sociocultural research that has not been fully explored with regard to second language learning – the process through which learners develop the repertoire of symbolic artifacts they use when engaging in communicative activities (verbal and visual) in the second language. I will argue that the key to this development resides in internalization, a process closely affiliated with private speech. Carroll (2001, pp. 16–17) points out that the process of acquisition is “not directly observable” and can only be inferred “on the basis of other observable events such as the utterances that learners produce, the interpretation they assign to utterances they hear or read, the time it takes to interpret an utterance, their judgements of the acceptability of utterances, etc.” The specific goal of this chapter is to argue that it is possible to observe, at least in part, the process of language learning through analysis of the intrapersonal communication (private speech) produced by learners in concrete objective circumstances of the language classroom.Unlike most theories of language acquisition, in particular that espoused by Chomsky's innatist theory, the sociocultural perspective recognizes that humans are not completely at the mercy of their biology; rather it sees humans as agents who regulate their brains rather than the other way around.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationVygotsky's Educational Theory in Cultural Context
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9780511840975
ISBN (Print)0521821312, 9780521821315
StatePublished - Jan 1 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychology(all)


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