4.2.2.2 Back channel support

B4 gives B3 considerably more back channel support than the latter gives B4.

Giver recipient no.of items Giver recipient no. of items

B3 B4 1 B4 B3 5

B3 gives 1 item B4 gives 5 items

B3 receives 5 items B4 receives 1 item

There were six back channel items in the discussion, five given by B4 to B3, and one given by B3 to B4. There was an average of one back channel item per 26 words uttered, a relatively high rate, and twice the frequency which occurred in Group I. As in Group I, however, the speaker who talks more, B3, receives more items of back channel support and gives fewer, while B4 gives more back channel support items and receives fewer. In this case, B4's responses sometimes appear to function as minimal turns, a way of returning the floor to B3, who carries most of the conversation. B4 does however supply some back channel support which indicates both speakers are exploring a concept co- operatively:

2. B3: (5) mm c. how can you make friends (1) with

3. B3: ah people when you don't know whether they're

B4: (.) friends or

4. B3: (.) aye

B4: enemies

B4 here completes B3's turn ("friends or enemies"), and B3 accepts the completion ("aye"). In this respect, the conversation is co-operative.


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