Recast (language teaching)

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A recast is a technique used in language teaching to correct learners' errors in such a way that communication is not obstructed. To recast an error, an interlocutor will repeat the error back to the learner in a corrected form. Recasts are used both by teachers in formal educational settings, and by interlocutors in naturalistic language acquisition.

Child language acquisition[edit]

Recasts can be used by adults to improve children's native language skills. A frequently used technique is for the adult to imitate the child's speech. In this form of recast, the adult repeats the child's incorrect phrases in correct form. This enables the child to learn the correct pronunciation, grammar and sentence structure.[1]

Language education[edit]

Recasts can be used for teaching second languages. In this form the recast is usually more than a simple repeating of the learner's words. The teacher will correct the student's errors but also extend the learning by adding additional words or phrases.

A typical recast might be:

  • Student: "I want eat."
  • Teacher: "What do you want to eat?"

In this example the teacher is making the correction to the student's speech (adding a "to") but also extending the learning by asking a question.


Some researchers into second language learning have challenged the degree of effectiveness of recasts drawing attention to the abilities of the learner[2] and the limitations imposed by the learner only being able to repeat the words of the teacher[3] as factors that have not been accounted for by proponents of the method.


  1. ^ Saxton, Matthew (2010). Child Language: Acquisition and Development. Sage Publications Ltd. pp. 94–95. 
  2. ^ Ellis, Rod; Sheen, Younghee (2006). "Reexamining the Role of Recasts in Second Language Acquisition". Studies in Second Language Acquisition 28 (04): 575–600. doi:10.1017/S027226310606027X. ISSN 0272-2631. 
  3. ^ Sasan Baleghizadeh; Heidar Abdi (2010). "Recast and Its Impact on Second Language Acquisition" (PDF). International Journal of Language Studies 4 (4): 57–68. Retrieved 2012-04-13.