Johannes Wagner

JohsProfessor (Principal Investigator)
Department of Design and Communication
(2014 – present)


My background is in linguistics and social science and I have always been interested in the relation between language, action, and sense-making.  My focus on objects and their role for sociality came – as for many of my colleagues – from my involvement with the SPIRE project where engineers, designers, anthropologist, interaction scholars, business researchers and a forum theater group cooperated in researching user driven innovation.  I am especially interested in how people learn to handle larger and complex ‘things’ as e.g. cars or forklifts, what mastery of an object consists of and how it is acquired, and how people accommodate these objects to their specific needs and uses.  Currently I am working with Jeanette Landgrebe on a paper that describes how objects can be used as ‘props’ i.e. as something they are not but came to be in a specific participation framework.

For many years my research has been in Applied Linguistics where I have been interested in understanding the relation between using and learning a language.  Many of my early publications intended to empower the language learner communicatively and to control the interactional dominance of the teacher in the language classroom.  For some years I have worked in collaboration with Søren W. Eskildsen and Teresa Cadierno on ”Usage-Based Second Language Acquisition (UB-SLA)”, a project funded by the VELUX foundation 2009-2013. Søren and I have recently published about the coupling of specific linguistic items with specific gestures in L2 learning over time. In particular, we are interested in how gestures accompany learning of new vocabulary.

As an outcome of this work, we cooperate with several colleagues in Sweden, Iceland, Finland and Denmark on bringing what we learned about usage based language learning back into language teaching.  The project explores language acquisition in the wild and develops a locally adaptable method to bring language students into the community where use of the target language is a natural and everyday activity.  This project is a cooperation of interaction designers, language acquisition theorists, interaction researchers and language program specialists.



  • Embodied L2 construction learning – Eskildsen, S. W. & Wagner, J. 2015 In : Language Learning. 65, 2, p. 268-297
  • Sprogbrugsbaseret læring i en tosproget hverdag: En forskningsoversigt over en sprogsbrugsbaseret tilgang til andetsprogsundervisning – Eskildsen, S. W. & Wagner, J. 2015 In : NyS. 48, p. 71-104
  • ‘Hello! I’m behind you’: Warnings at trouble moments in forklift driving – Nevile, M. R. & Wagner, J. Nov 2015
  • Moving in mysterious ways: users’ responses to an expressive artifact – Hujboom, N., Castaneda, M., Taanquist, H. & Wagner, J. 18 May 2015 Proceedings of the 4th Participatory Innovation Conference 2015. Valkenburg, R., Dekkers, C. & Sluijs, J. (eds.). The Hague: The Hague University of Applied Sciences, p. 432-439
  • Breaching embodied routines: Redesign as a means to make visible skills for the manual use of objects – Caglio, A., Larsen, T. & Wagner, J. 6 Aug 2015 IIEMCA Conference 2015: Living the material world: Book of abstracts. p. 102 1 p.
  • Designing for Language Learning in the Wild: creating social infrastructures for second language learning – Wagner, J. 2015 Usage-Based Perspectives on Second Language Learning. Cadierno, T. & Eskildsen, S. W. (eds.). Mouton de Gruyter, (Applications of Cognitive Linguistics, Vol. 30).
  • L2 and L3 integrated learning – lingua franca use in learning an additional language in the classroom. – Hazel, S. & Wagner, J. 1 Apr 2015 International Perspectives on ELT Classroom Interaction. Jenks, C. J. & Seedhouse, P. (eds.). Palgrave Macmillan


  • Conversation Analysis in Applied Linguistics – Kasper, G. & Wagner, J. 2014 In : Annual Review of Applied Linguistics. 34, March, p. 171-212 41 p.
  • Creating a social infrastructure for L2 learning: towards an experiential second language pedagogy – Eskildsen, S. W., Wagner, J. & Cadierno, T. 13 Mar 2014 GURT 2014. Proceedings: Usage-based Approaches to Language, Language Learning, and Multilingualism. GURT, p. 48-49
  • Objects as Tools for Talk – Day, D. & Wagner, J. 2014 Interacting with things: The sociality of objects. Nevile, M., Haddington, P., Heinemann, T. & Rauniomaa, M. (eds.). John Benjamins Publishing Company, Vol. 187, p. 101-124


  • Recurring and shared gestures in the L2 classroom: Resources for teaching and learning – Eskildsen, S. W. & Wagner, J. 2013 In : European Journal of Applied Linguistics. 1, 1, p. 139–161
  • Usage-based second language learning – experiential second language teaching? – Eskildsen, S. W., Theodorsdottir, G., Cadierno, T. & Wagner, J. 8 Nov 2013


  • Conversation Analysis: Overview – Mortensen, K. & Wagner, J. 2012 Conversation Analysis and Applied Linguistics. The Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics. Wagner, J., Mortensen, K. & Chapelle, C. A. (eds.). Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, p. 1075-1082
  • Conversation Analysis and Applied Linguistics: The Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics (general editor C.A. Chapelle) – Wagner, J. & Mortensen, K. 2012 Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.


  • A conversation-analytic approach to second language acquisition – Kasper, G. & Wagner, J. 2011 Alternative approaches to second language acquisition. Atkinson , D. (ed.). New York: Taylor & Francis, p. 117-142
  • Introduction – Pallotti, G. & Wagner, J. 2011 L2 Learning as Social Practice: Conversation-Analytic Perspectives. Pallotti, G. & Wagner, J. (eds.). Honolulu: National Foreign Language Resource Center, University of Hawai’i at Manoa, Vol. 2, p. 1-16 17 p.
  • Language Choice and Participation: Two Practices for Switching Languages in Institutional Interaction – Nevile, M. & Wagner, J. 2011 L2 Learning as Social Practice: Conversation-Analytic Perspectives. Pallotti, G. & J. W. (eds.). Honolulu: National Foreign Language Resource Center, University of Hawai’i at Manoa, Vol. 2, p. 211-236 25 p.
  • L2 Learning as Social Practice: Conversation-Analytic Perspectives – Pallotti, G. (ed.) & Wagner, J. (ed.) 2011 Honolulu, HI: National Foreign Language Resource Center, University of Hawai’i at Manoa. 368 p. (Pragmatics and Interaction, Vol. 2).


  • Social achievements and sequential organization of laughter: Studies in the Honor of Gail Jefferson – Vöge (på barsel), M. & Wagner, J. 1 Jan 2010 In : Journal of Pragmatics. 42, p. 1469-1473 5 p.
  • Transcribing, searching and data sharing: The CLAN software and the TalkBank data repository – MacWhinney, B. & Wagner, J. 2010 In : Gespraechsforschung. 11, p. 154-173
  • Learning and doing learning in interaction: What do participants do in everyday out-of-school second language talk? – Wagner, J. 2010 Language Learning and Socialization through Conversation. Kite, Y. & Ikeda, K. (eds.). Center for Human Activity Theory. Kansai University, p. 51-59 9 p.