Backchannels in spoken Turkish

Aytaç Demirçivi, Kadriye
This study aims to identify all the non-lexical and lexical backchannels and different functions carried out by these backchannels in the Spoken Turkish Corpus. It also aims to investigate differences in the use of backchannels in naturally formed groups in the data. In order to achieve these aims, Spoken Turkish Corpus was used as the data source and EXMaRALDA tools were used to annotate functions of the backchannels. A sub-corpus was formed consisting of 61 conversations from three main settings:conversations among family and/or relatives (35), among family and friends (13) and friends and/or acquaintances (13). Using a cyclic approach which requires continuous back and forth for the identification of the functions of backchannels, the results show that both non-lexical and lexical backchannels have two main functions: keeping the conversational flow and showing attitudes. Both of these main functions also have a diverse set of sub-functions. The analysis shows that there are some statistical tendencies for different age and gender groupings with regard to their use of nonlexical and lexical backchannels. Groups consisting of entirely young female speakers tend to use backchannels more commonly compared to other groups. In addition, they tend to use backchannels with the approval and agreement functions mostly. However, results also indicate that despite these statistical tendencies, other variables such as the topic of the conversation and socio-educational background of the speakers might have a more fundamental effect on the use of backchannels than age and gender of the speakers.


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Citation Formats
K. Aytaç Demirçivi, “Backchannels in spoken Turkish,” Ph.D. - Doctoral Program, Middle East Technical University, 2021.