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Language as social action: Grammar, prosody, and interaction in Swedish conversation : grammatik, prosodi och interaktion i svenska samtal
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Languages, Department of Scandinavian Languages.
1999 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This study contributes to a larger research programme that links grammar and prosody on the one hand with talk-in-interaction on the other. An underlying assumption of this study is that language is key to the organization of social action. Language is shaped by the fact that it is used by inter-actants to engage in a range of social activities whilst at the same time it also shapes these activities. Grammar and prosody are important resources for both the production and understanding of social action.

The data consists of recordings of naturally occurring mundane Swedish conversation. Using conversation analysis (CA), the author describes and analyzes the interactants' orientations as displayed through their turns-at-talk. Three phenomena are introduced that can be identified by and are constituted through aspects of grammar or prosody. The first of these is the or-inquiry. This is a yes/no-question that ends with the Swedish conjunction eller 'or'. It is argued that this syntactic construction marks the action the turn otherwise engages in as problematic. Second, the sequential environment of deferred action requests, invitations, and proposals is examined. A deferred action is one that cannot be immediately satisfied. The study demonstrates that an affirmative response token is insufficient to agree with or accept a deferred action request, invitation, or proposal. An additional unit of talk is required where the recipient makes a commitment to satisfy the deferred action in the future. Third, the study focusses on a prosodic variant of the Swedish affirmative response token ja. The analysis suggests that ja projects non-alignment when it is produced with a stretch and rising pitch contour in the turn-initial position of a responsive action. This provides a resource for the interactional negotiation of alignment or agreement. The three phenomena that the study introduces may be of relevance for languages other than Swedish.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis , 1999. , 198 p.
Skrifter / utgivna av Institutionen för nordiska språk vid Uppsala universitet, ISSN 0083-4661 ; 46
Keyword [en]
Scandinavian languages - general, Conversation analysis, grammar, prosody, interaction, preference organization, affiliation, disaffiliation, or-inquiry, deferred actions, response tokens, Swedish conversation
Keyword [sv]
Nordiska språk - allmänt
National Category
Specific Languages
Research subject
Scandinavian Languages
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-50ISBN: 91-506-1339-1OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-50DiVA: diva2:165988
Public defence
1999-05-08, Ihresalen, Språkvetenskapligt centrum, Villavägen 4, Uppsala, Uppsala, 10:15
Available from: 1999-04-17 Created: 1999-04-17 Last updated: 2012-11-13Bibliographically approved

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Lindström, Anna
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