Authenticity and authorship in the computer-mediated acquisition of L2 literacy

Claire Kramsch*, Francine A'Ness, Wan Shun Eva Lam

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Scopus citations


This paper examines what becomes of the two tenets of communicative language teaching - authenticity of the input and authorship of the language user - in an electronic environment. After a brief review of relevant research in textually-mediated second language acquisition, we analyze two cases of computer-mediated language learning: a) the construction of a multimedia CD-ROM by American college learners of Spanish, and b) the use of Internet relay chat by a Chinese high school learner of English. We discuss what kind of L2 literacy the students acquire through the computer medium. We find that a communicative approach based on the use of authentic texts and on the desire to make the learners author their own words has been changed by the physical properties of the electronic medium and the students' engagement with it. Authenticity and authorship have given way to agency and identity and the presentation of self. Indeed, computer-mediated communication leads us to rethink the authentic, the authorial, and, ultimately, the communicative itself.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)78-104
Number of pages27
JournalLanguage Learning and Technology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 1 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Computer Science Applications


Dive into the research topics of 'Authenticity and authorship in the computer-mediated acquisition of L2 literacy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this