Oral language learning in a foreign language context: Constrained or constructed? A sociocultural perspective

Ruiying Niu, Kailun Lu, Xiaoye You

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations


This paper reports on an exploratory study which investigated English as a foreign language (EFL) learners’ oral language learning experiences from a sociocultural perspective. The study involved four Chinese proficient English learners, and gathered data from interviews and written journals. With Activity Theory serving as the analytical framework, data analysis revealed that 13 sociocultural resources in relation to artifacts, rules, community, and roles mediated the participants’ oral English learning by providing and actualizing learning affordances, serving as learning goals, and generating motivation for learning. The findings delineate a picture of the social context in which learners make use of sociocultural resources, both instructional and extracurricular, to seek opportunities for oral language learning. The study suggests that EFL contexts can afford learners with diverse potential learning resources, the usefulness of which depends on learners’ agency in seeking and exploiting these resources.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)38-49
Number of pages12
StatePublished - Jun 2018


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language

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