Volume 3, Issue 1  August 2021, pp. 1–20          Download PDF

Regular Article
Lighting the fuse for interaction and negotiation: The potential of information-gap digital puzzle games for language learning

Michael Hofmeyr https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0295-11281

1 Osaka University, JAPAN mfhofmeyr@gmail.com

DOI: https://doi.org/10.29140/tltl.v3n1.450


While the existing CALL literature identifies a range of positive learning outcomes for second language acquisition (SLA) that may be achieved through digital game-based activities, Peterson (2013) points to the need for more theory-led research to shed more light on the learning processes involved. To this end, a case study was carried out in which three upper-intermediate-level learners of English at a Japanese university played the cooperative puzzle game Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes (2015) over four sessions. An interaction analysis was performed on their linguistic output in order to identify instances of negotiation for meaning and associated interactional strategies theorised to benefit learning within a cognitive-interactionist SLA framework. The findings confirm that negotiation for meaning occurred and suggest that breakdowns in communication resulting from vague language usage or from gaps in lexical knowledge are most likely to elicit beneficial forms of negotiation. In addition, learners are shown to have made regular use various interactional strategies, either to repair breakdowns in communication or to pre-empt them. Clarification requests and elaborations on previous utterances are shown to have occurred and the data suggest that these two strategies are the most likely to produce substantial modified output that may facilitate SLA.


© Michael Hofmeyr

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Suggested citation

Hofmeyr, M. (2021). Lighting the fuse for interaction and negotiation: The potential of information-gap digital puzzle games for language learning. Technology in Language Teaching & Learning, 3(1), 1–20. https://doi.org/10.29140/tltl.v3n1.450

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