Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Volume 14. Number 2 June 2023                                             Pp.281 – 294

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 Insight into the Role of Interaction in Language Acquisition: Vygotsky’s Interactionist
Theory of Language

 Jamilah Maflah Alharbi
Department of English
Majmaah University
AL-Majmaah 11952, Saudi Arabia


Received:01/09/2023         Accepted:05/10/2023                 Published: 06/24/2023


Psychologists’ theoretical implications have led to several studies investigating L1 and L2 acquisition. This research examines Vygotsky’s (1978, 1987a, 1987b, 1997, 2012) interactionist view of language acquisition and draws on a critical review methodology to assess the relevance of Vygotsky’s (1978) interactionist theory in L1 and L2 acquisition. To assess whether Vygotsky’s (1978) theory of language acquisition is effective, the selected articles will be critically examined. This research indicates that the articles under review prove the validity of Vygotsky’s (1978) arguments. However, they did not address how children from non-western cultures and those with disabilities acquire language, on the one hand, and the role of self-regulatory speech in language acquisition, on the other hand. Though Chomsky’s (1965) Universal Grammar and Skinner’s (1957) behaviourist theory have inspired scholars, linguists, and researchers to examine L1 and L2 acquisition deeply, Vygotsky’s (1978) interactionist theory explains how social interaction is crucial to a child’s cognitive development. The theory’s emphasis on learner-centeredness may significantly empower language teachers if implemented wisely into the L2 Curriculum. To maximize the effectiveness of social interaction in L2 learning, more profound and longitudinal research on the integration of zone of proximal development and scaffolding into teaching is required.  Though teacher and peer interactions in L2 learning have been studied empirically, the types of social interactions that enhance language acquisition need to be assessed. Educators, researchers, and scholars must investigate how social interactions affect the cognitive and linguistic development of learners. Educators, researchers, and scholars must investigate how social interactions affect the cognitive and linguistic development of learners.
Keywords:  Language acquisition, scaffolding, socio-cultural, Vygotsky’s Interactionist Theory of Language,
zone of proximal development

Cite as: Alharbi, J. M.   (2023).  Insight into the Role of Interaction in Language Acquisition: Vygotsky’s Interactionist Theory of Language.  Arab World English Journal, 14 (2) 281-294.


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Received: 01/09/2023
Accepted: 05/10/2023 
Published: 06/24/2023

Dr. Jamilah Maflah Alharbi is an Assistant Professor at the Department of English Language and Literature, Majmaah University. She has taught Semantics, Linguistics, Sociolinguistics and second language acquisition. She is interested in English as a second/foreign language learning and teaching and second language vocabulary acquisition. She is also interested in Sociolinguistics and the general area of second language acquisition. She has published primarily in the areas of vocabulary learning strategies and language teaching and learning.