Dorm Talk Project


The purpose of this project is to design supplementary Chinese learning materials for teachers and students based on Chinese L2 learners’ actual engagement in authentic language use outside of classroom. Foreign language textbooks are very poor representations of authentic discourse that second language (L2) learners engage in when they interact with peers who speak the target language (Grant & Starks, 2001; Mori, 2005). Therefore, we base our modules on the actual conversations between American study abroad students and their Chinese roommates. All conversations here came from a corpus of American study abroad students’ conversations with their Chinese peers in the dormitory (the Dorm Talk corpus). Eighteen dyads consented to record their routine conversations and submitted a total of 1,929 minutes or audio recorded conversations. Based on these coanversations, we identified recurring topics and patterns of organization. We then compared these topics and patterns with popular Chinese language textbooks to determine what is missing in the model dialogs in elementary and intermediate Chinese language classes. This comparison enabled us to design the modules here for teachers and students to use as supplementary resources for the learning and teaching of Chinese.


All modules are free to use. This project was funded by the U.S. Department of Education as a part of the Center for Educational Resources in Culture, Language and Literacy (Title VI) 2014-2018 grant cycle.

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