The construct of interactional competence has expanded our understanding of competence in an L2 beyond grammatical accuracy prioritizing appropriateness in language use over accuracy. In order to contribute to the existing knowledge around this construct, this study deals with the way L2 learners, without complete mastery over the linguistic system of their second language, may be able to maintain the flow of their intercultural talk through managing their epistemic stance dynamically. Building upon data collected from online video and audio interactions among Japanese and Taiwanese learners of English as a foreign language, the study shows how the utterance of short tokens and expressions of surprise alters a speakers’ epistemic stance towards an emerging intercultural topic, hence allowing the conversation to continue smoothly. The findings also suggest that the participants would determine their epistemic stance on a moment-by-moment basis and without orienting to pre-existing categories such as their nationalities. This study makes use of ethnomethodology and conversation analysis as its framework to unravel how the management of epistemic stance contributes to the maintenance of the flow of talk, subsequently indicating L2 speakers’ interactional competence.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
Note: Authors are encouraged to post copies of their AJAL published papers to their own institutional or personal/professional websites along with a link to the original paper at the AJAL website. This will assist in diseminating their work as well as raising awareness of the journal.