Echo answers in native/non-native interaction

Jan Svennevig

Abstract

An echo answer is an answer that repeats elements of the question. This response form occurs after yes/noquestions and “statements about B-events”. The current study is based on data from native/non-native institutional interaction, and echo answers are shown to play an important role in certain types of repair that are characteristic of such interaction. Echo answers have two main usages. The first is to appropriate a candidate formulation and integrate it into one’s own turn in progress. This often happens when native speakers attempt to assist non-native interlocutors in expressing themselves. The other is to claim a strengthened commitment to the answer. This is especially salient in cases where a minimal agreement might project a potential dispreferred response. Echo answers may occur alone or with an initial or final response word, and these different response formats are shown to index the relative epistemic authority of the interlocutors.

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