Edited by Emma Betz, Taiane Malabarba and Dagmar Barth-Weingarten
[Applied Pragmatics 5:2] 2023
► pp. 142–168
L2 frameworks, such as the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, describe expected linguistic abilities at different levels of L2 development. These frameworks, and the assessment rubrics they inform, only peripherally address how L2 speakers respond to informings in interaction. Through responses interactants show their understanding of, and stance toward, a previous informing. In question-answer sequences in which a participant requests new information, the response to the answer may additionally reveal the questioning participant’s orientation to the answer in terms of its fit with the question. Responses to informings are thus a site of important interactional work. In our paper, we draw on the notion of ‘Interactional Competence’ and propose a conversation-analytic approach to assessing L2 speakers’ responses to elicited informings in German in question-answer sequences. We analyze L2 speakers’ use of tokens (e.g., oh, okay, wirklich) in sequentially third position in dyadic, video-mediated everyday conversations with L1 speakers, as, in the turns following the third-position token, participants make visible their understanding of the token. We thereby attempt to describe how competent an L2 speaker’s use of a third-position token is. We end our paper by using our findings to make recommendations for language assessment frameworks and rubrics.