Klara Skogmyr Marian. Foto: Caroline Gaba


Klara Skogmyr Marian. Foto: Caroline Gaba

Webbinarium i Zoom


Om Zoom.


Interactional competence may be described as speakers’ routinized yet context-sensitive interactional procedures for accomplishing social actions and managing the organizational infrastructure of interaction (Pekarek Doehler & [Pochon-] Berger, 2015; 2018). Research on the development of interactional competence in a second language (L2) has focused on speakers’ growing ability to manage for example turn-taking, disagreements, and storytellings (see Skogmyr Marian & Balaman, 2018, for an overview). In this talk, I present the results of a longitudinal study of L2 French speakers’ interactional use of negative assessments in complaints about non-present third parties or state of affairs. Complaining is a ubiquitous social activity, which typically serves social-relational purposes in interaction (cf. Hanna, 1981). Considering the important role of assessments in complaints, and for participation in social interaction in general (Goodwin & Goodwin, 1987; 1992), it may be important for L2 speakers to develop practices for offering appropriate and timely negative assessments in the L2.

The study draws on video-recorded interactions among university students in the Frenchspeaking part of Switzerland. Using multimodal conversation analysis, I analyze the use of negative assessments among five L2 speakers at elementary (A1-A2) and upper-intermediate/advanced (B2-C1) level of French. Results show differences over time and across proficiency levels primarily in the linguistic formatting of negative assessments and in the use of bodilyvisual conduct for expressing negative stance. Elementary speakers deploy a limited repertoire of linguistic formats for accomplishing high-grade first assessments and for upgrading first assessments, and they rely heavily on non-linguistic resources for displaying negative stance. Upper-intermediate/advanced speakers deploy a wider range of linguistic resources for assessing than elementary speakers, which is observable in more diverse lexical and syntactical formats of high-grade first assessments and upgraded second assessments. This change over time has interactional consequences for speakers’ participation in complaint sequences, particularly in the context of joint complaining I discuss the implications of the findings for our understanding of the development of L2 interactional competence and for L2 teaching practices.