Gestural Matching and Contingent Teaching

Highlighting Learnables in Table-talk at Language Cafés




matching gestures, contingent teaching, Swedich as a second language, CA-SLA, embodiment


This study explores how iconic gestural matching in responsive turns is used in Swedish L2 talk not only to demonstrate understanding, but also as a referable by L1 speakers to highlight part of the previous turn as the focus of instruction. Gestural matching indicates intersubjective understanding (de Fornel, 1992), cohesion across turns (Koschmann & LeBaron, 2002), or conjoint actions (Lerner, 2002). In the context of L2 learning, they can be used for pedagogical purposes (Eskildsen & Wagner, 2015; Majlesi, 2015). This study reports on the use of gestural matching in “language cafés”, where gestures are recycled to make part of the prior turn salient and relevant for the emergence of learnables and for contingent teaching.

Author Biography

Ali Reza Majlesi, Stockholm University

Ali Reza Majlesi received his PhD in Language and Culture from Linköping University, Sweden, and holds a position as a senior lecturer in the Department of Education at Stockholm University, Sweden. He conducts research on social interaction, with particular focus on embodied practices in social activities. He is interested in professional practices, health and communication in various multilingual and multicultural settings. His research methodology draws on ethnomethodological conversation analysis and multimodal analysis of social interaction. Address for correspondence: Department of Education, Stockholm University, Frescativ. 54, 106 91 Stockholm. Email:


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How to Cite

Majlesi, A. R. (2022). Gestural Matching and Contingent Teaching: Highlighting Learnables in Table-talk at Language Cafés. Social Interaction. Video-Based Studies of Human Sociality, 5(1).