Arabic Back Channel Signals

Mohammad Anani


Backchannel signals in Arabic conversational exchanges are unaccounted for either in form or in function. The  primary objective of this research is therefore to describe the structure and function of those naturally occurring uttered phrases used in conversational exchanges for expressing approval or active engagement in the interaction. To achieve this purpose a corpus consisting of spontaneous conversational exchanges were recorded. The recordings were meant to represent typical family settings in which interaction usually takes place between close relatives or friends: males or females. The conversations were classified into types which represent conversational exchanges between women and men, and children. Reference is made to difficulties experienced by Arab learners of English when talking to English- speaking interlocutors, as a result of the differences in backchannel signals.

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International Journal of Linguistics  ISSN 1948-5425  Email:

Copyright © Macrothink Institute ISSN 1948-5425

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