While the recent explosion of work on L2 discourse has provided researchers with a mass of data on the development of communicative abilities, we find that most of this work is predicated on a single (perhaps even curious) assumption: that all discourse, of which L2 discourse is taken as a subcategory, is intended by its speakers to be informative to some interlocutor (i.e., transmits a message via an acoustic or graphic conduit) and that the production of discourse entails the formulation of strategies on the part of speakers in order to maximize this transmission of data. That discourse is not communicative (i.e., sending and receiving information) by nature has, in fact, been long known, but overlooked, especially in L2 research. Malinowski pointed out as early as 1935 that:
Language is an activity the function of which is not an expression of thought or communication of ideas … the neglect of the obvious has often been fatal to the development of scientific thought. The false conception of language as a means of transferring ideas from the head of the speaker to that of the listener has, in my opinion, largely vitiated the philological approach to language (Malinowski, 1935, 9).