Where grammar meets interaction : Collaborative production of syntactic constructions in Icelandic conversation

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http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-51-1499-0
Title: Where grammar meets interaction : Collaborative production of syntactic constructions in Icelandic conversation
Author: Blöndal, Thorunn
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Arts, Department of Finnish, Finno-Ugrian and Scandinavian Studies
Publisher: Helsingin yliopisto
Date: 2015-09-26
Language: en
Belongs to series: Nordica Helsingiensia - URN:ISSN:1795-4428
URI: http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-51-1499-0
http://hdl.handle.net/10138/156533
Thesis level: Doctoral dissertation (monograph)
Abstract: This thesis is an exploration of two interactional processes, syntactic completion and other-extension. The aim of the study is to explore what if anything triggers the use of these phenomena, to scrutinise their form and their interactional function and how they are received in the dialogue. The notion of the conversational turn and how the concept relates to the two phenomena is also discussed in the study. The thesis is based on an empirical study carried out in the framework of interactional linguistics which rests upon conversation analysis (CA) but also draws upon mainstream linguistics and has a linguistic viewpoint. The empirical data consist of 20 hours of everyday conversation from the ISTAL corpus of spoken Icelandic, recorded in the year 2000. Both completions and other-extensions show collaborative actions, which appear in the relaxed settings as found in the ISTAL data. The data analysed in the thesis consist of 53 examples of completions and 73 instances of other-extensions. In the thesis, completions fall into two categories. When the first speaker seems to be in trouble, for example searching for a name, the second speaker joins in with a candidate completion; that is what is called induced completions. The other category includes non-induced completions where no discernible trouble triggers the second speaker s action. Other-extensions also fall mainly into two categories, Supportive Actions and Checking Understanding, which show differences regarding form and interactional functions. Both in completions and in other-extensions, the second speaker only goes as far as to the next Transition Relevance Place (TRP); the two processes are never attempts to take over the conversational floor. These collaborative actions are both received in a positive way in the conversations with a few exceptions. Finally, it is argued that the conversational turn is not necessarily a production of one person. Two (or more) participants in a dialogue can produce collaborative turn sequences, which are found in completions and in one of the two main categories of other-extensions, i.e. the category of Supportive Actions. In Supporting Actions the second speaker carries on with the action initiated by the first speaker, he speaks in the same direction as the first speaker, he takes place by his side . Either his extension highlights the first speaker s words or explicates them. In the category of Checking Understanding, a different action is carried out and therefore a new turn. The second speaker faces his partner in the conversation and he directs his words to the first speaker. In this category, some obscurity is often seen in the utterance preceding the extension and by reacting as the he does, the second speaker tries to avoid that a problem will come up later in the conversation. It is therefore the directionality that separates the categories of Supporting Actions and Checking Understanding when it comes to deciding whether the first speaker s utterance and the extension should be looked at as one collaborative turn sequence or as two separate turns. When two or more speakers share their turn, they also share the conversational floor and in these instances, we can talk about a collaborative floor. The appropriate surroundings for collaboratively producing a conversational turn and sharing the floor with the other participants are in friendly conversation with people who know each other s conversational behaviour. Keywords: Icelandic conversation, interactional linguistics, conversation analysis, completion, extension, collaborative production, collaborative turn sequence, joint production.  This thesis is an exploration of two interactional processes, syntactic completion and other-extension. The aim of the study is to explore what if anything triggers the use of these phenomena, to scrutinise their form and their interactional function and how they are received in the dialogue. The notion of the conversational turn and how the concept relates to the two phenomena is also discussed in the study. The thesis is based on an empirical study carried out in the framework of interactional linguistics which rests upon conversation analysis (CA) but also draws upon mainstream linguistics and has a linguistic viewpoint. The empirical data consist of 20 hours of everyday conversation from the ISTAL corpus of spoken Icelandic, recorded in the year 2000. Both completions and other-extensions show collaborative actions, which appear in the relaxed settings as found in the ISTAL data. The data analysed in the thesis consist of 53 examples of completions and 73 instances of other-extensions. In the thesis, completions fall into two categories. When the first speaker seems to be in trouble, for example searching for a name, the second speaker joins in with a candidate completion; that is what is called induced completions. The other category includes non-induced completions where no discernible trouble triggers the second speaker s action. Other-extensions also fall mainly into two categories, Supportive Actions and Checking Understanding, which show differences regarding form and interactional functions. Both in completions and in other-extensions, the second speaker only goes as far as to the next Transition Relevance Place (TRP); the two processes are never attempts to take over the conversational floor. These collaborative actions are both received in a positive way in the conversations with a few exceptions. Finally, it is argued that the conversational turn is not necessarily a production of one person. Two (or more) participants in a dialogue can produce collaborative turn sequences, which are found in completions and in one of the two main categories of other-extensions, i.e. the category of Supportive Actions. In Supporting Actions the second speaker carries on with the action initiated by the first speaker, he speaks in the same direction as the first speaker, he takes place by his side . Either his extension highlights the first speaker s words or explicates them. In the category of Checking Understanding, a different action is carried out and therefore a new turn. The second speaker faces his partner in the conversation and he directs his words to the first speaker. In this category, some obscurity is often seen in the utterance preceding the extension and by reacting as the he does, the second speaker tries to avoid that a problem will come up later in the conversation. It is therefore the directionality that separates the categories of Supporting Actions and Checking Understanding when it comes to deciding whether the first speaker s utterance and the extension should be looked at as one collaborative turn sequence or as two separate turns. When two or more speakers share their turn, they also share the conversational floor and in these instances, we can talk about a collaborative floor. The appropriate surroundings for collaboratively producing a conversational turn and sharing the floor with the other participants are in friendly conversation with people who know each other s conversational behaviour. Keywords: Icelandic conversation, interactional linguistics, conversation analysis, completion, extension, collaborative production, collaborative turn sequence, joint production.
Subject: linguistics
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