Volume 5, Issue 2
  • ISSN 2215-1478
  • E-ISSN: 2215-1486
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This study investigates the use of lexical backchannels in the discourse of L2 English users sitting Trinity College London’s Graded Examinations in Spoken English (GESE). It is based on the and explores the language produced during the Discussion, Conversation and Interactive tasks of the language examinations by L2 English users from Chinese, Indian and Italian linguistic backgrounds, whose proficiency ranges from the B2 to C2 levels (i.e. high intermediate, advanced, expert) of the CEFR. The findings suggest that the L2 users with an Italian background and to a lesser extent those with a Chinese background often supported their examiners’ turns with items conveying uncertainty, while those with an Indian background with items of certainty. Furthermore, the L1 Chinese speakers used lexical backchannels the most, especially those expressing surprise or request for confirmation, while the speakers from India used them the least. Implications for the assessment of oral proficiency are discussed.


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