Interactional language is the language we use to build and maintain relationships. It can be compared to transactional language, which normally carries a message and is the language used to get things done. To maintain interaction, speakers use interactional strategies.
Learners in a multi-lingual group chatting together before a class begins are using interactional language.
In the classroom
Teachers can present elements of interactional language, and raise learners' awareness of interactional strategies by exposure to video and authentic conversation. Learners can learn to use paralinguistic features such as gestures, eye contact, and body language, and linguistic features used to maintain an interactional conversation including functions such as expressing interest and asking for clarification.