Foreigner Talk in Norway - A comparative study of speech modifications in L2-L2 English interaction
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Previous research has shown that native speakers adjust aspects of their speech and dialogue in response to a less proficient foreign speaker, in what is known as Foreigner Talk (FT). However, less is known about whether non-native speakers make similar adjustments. This study investigates patterns of FT from proficient L2 speakers of English. 6 university students of linguistics were paired with a native speaker (NS) and a non-native speaker (NNS) separately to perform three consecutive tasks: (a) an informal conversation, (b) a word explanation task and (c) a picture description task. The interactions were recorded and transcribed, and utterances coded for rates of modifications to linguistic input and to the structure of conversation. The results show that L2 speakers do modify their speech when speaking to a less proficient interlocutor of the same language, and that the degree of modification varies within different interactional settings. Significant effects were found in the informal conversation, which had the largest numerical differences between the NS directed speech and the NNS directed speech. These findings are a modest contribution to FTD research, but they draw further attention to the L2-speaker and the type of discourse involved in foreigner talk. Non-target qualities of modifications to the conversational structure are also discussed in more detail to give a qualitative portrayal of the negotiation of comprehensible input that happens in a FT discourse.