Turn-initial Yeah in Nonnative Speakers’ Speech: A Routine Token for Not-so-routine Interactional Projects

Carol Hoi Yee Lo


This paper examines the use of turn-initial yeah in learner English, focusing on non-canonical uses of yeah. By showing how NSSs use yeah in ways different from that of native speakers (NSs), this paper aims to provide a nuanced view of the function it serves in NSSs’ speech. It demonstrates that yeah carries particular interactional import for NSSs, in that it is adopted by NSSs to accomplish unconventional interactional projects. It considers turn-initial yeah in two sequential environments: (1) second position turn-initial yeah in responses to questions and (2) yeah in extended turns-at-talk.

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