Linguistic risk-taking and informal language learning in Canada and Austria: Perspectives on moving from print to digital

Stefanie Cajka, Eva Vetter, Ed Griffiths, Nikolay Slavkov

Publications: Contribution to bookChapterPeer Reviewed


In this chapter, we address informal language learning through the pedagogical practice of Linguistic Risk-Taking (Slavkov 2020; Slavkov and Séror 2019), conceived at a Canadian bilingual post-secondary institution and subsequently developed at an Austrian university. The practice is designed to bridge classroom learning and leisure-based, real-life practice. Linguistic risks are opportunities for language learners to execute authentic communicative acts with an affective slant in the target language, outside the classroom. To encourage informal learning through linguistic risk-taking, we developed a passport (in Canada) and a booklet "Riskier was!" (in Austria) with extensive lists of risks involving everyday life and leisure activities in the learners' target languages. In this chapter, we report initially on the development of these paper tools across both sites. Through interviews conducted with participating learners, we show the way in which students perceived a digital version of the initiative as potentially leading to improvements across three dimensions: proximity, personalised experience, and interaction. We proceed to document the development of a mobile linguistic risktaking app for Android and Apple in Canada. Our work points to considerable benefits of developing a digital linguistic risk-taking app as the next logical step to supplement the paper-based initiative, incorporate the affordances of modern mobile technology, and further foster informal language learning through linguistic risk-taking.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLanguage Learning and Leisure
Subtitle of host publicationInformal Language Learning in the Digital Age
EditorsDenyze Toffoli, Geoffrey Sockett, Meryl Kusyk
PublisherDe Gruyter Mouton
Number of pages31
ISBN (Electronic)9783110752441
ISBN (Print)9783110752342
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2023

Publication series

SeriesStudies on Language Acquisition (SOLA)

Austrian Fields of Science 2012

  • 602007 Applied linguistics


  • Linguistic Risk-Taking
  • App Development
  • Multilingualism
  • Informal Language Learning
  • MALL
  • Materials Design
  • Informal language learning
  • App development
  • Materials design
  • Linguistic risk-taking

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