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Abstract

Abstract

This exploratory study examined the relationship between second language (L2) English speakers’ comprehensibility and their interactional behaviors as they engaged in a conversation with fellow L2 speakers. Thirty-six pairs of L2 English university students completed a 10-minute academic discussion task and subsequently rated each other’s comprehensibility. Transcripts of their conversation were coded for eight measures of task engagement, including cognitive/behavioral engagement (idea units, language-related episodes), social engagement (encouragement, responsiveness, task and time management, backchanneling, nodding), and emotional engagement (positive affect). Speakers who showed more encouragement and nodding were perceived as easier to understand, whereas those who produced more frequent language-focused episodes and demonstrated more responsiveness were rated as harder to understand. These findings provide initial evidence for an association between L2 speakers’ interactional behaviors and peer-ratings of comprehensibility, highlighting L2 comprehensibility as a multifaceted and interaction-driven construct.

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2021-07-27
2021-12-03
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