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Chatbots, whose potential for language learning have caused controversy among Second Language Acquisition (SLA) researchers (Atwell, 1999; Fryer & Carpenter, 2006; Fryer & Nakao, 2009; Parker, 2005, Coniam, 2014; Jia, 2004; Chantarotwong, 2005) are intelligent conversational systems stimulating human interlocutors with voice or text. In this paper, two different types of chatbots (pedagogical chatbot Tutor Mike and conversational chatbot Mitsuku) were selected to investigate their potential for foreign language learning by exploring the frequency and patterns of Negotiation for Meaning (NfM) in CMC interactions. 8 Chinese EFL leaners were randomly divided into two groups (lower and higher-level learners), and all learners interacted with both the pedagogical and conversational chatbot in a switching replications research design. Data were analysed through content analysis to identify the number of NfM instances observed, the different stages of NfM, trigger types, modified output and learners’ perceptions. The findings of this study indicate that while learners with low language levels would benefit most from interactions with pedagogical agents, high language level learners expressed dissatisfaction with chatbots and a low level of engagement was observed in their interactions with the pedagogical chatbot.
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