Suffixation and sequentiality
Notes on the study of morphology in interaction
This paper offers some reflections on the study of morphology – broadly speaking, ‘word formation’ – as a participants’ resource in social interaction. I begin by calling attention to morphology as a comparatively underexamined component of linguistic structure by conversation analysts and interactional linguists, in that it has yet to receive the same dedicated consideration as have, e.g., phonetics and syntax. I then present an ongoing study of suffixes/suffixation in Spanish – focusing on diminutives (e.g., –ito), augmentatives (e.g., –ote), and superlatives (i.e., –ísimo) – and describe how the sequentiality of interaction can offer analysts profound insight into participants’ orientations to morphological resources. With what I refer to as ‘morphological transformations’ – exemplified here in both same-turn and next-turn positions – interactants sequentially construct and expose morphological complexity as such, locally instantiating its relevance in the service of action. It is argued that a focus on transformations therefore provides analysts with a means to ‘break into’ morphology-based collections. A range of cases are presented to illustrate this methodological approach, before a concluding discussion in which I describe how morphology-focused investigations may intersect with explorations of other interactional phenomena.
- 2.Linguistic structure in action
- 2.1The ‘P-side’
- 2.2The ‘S-side’
- 2.3What about morphology?
- 2.3.1Morphology: The basics
- 2.3.2Morphology in CA/IL research
- 2.3.3What about ‘Morphosyntax’ (and ‘Morphophonology’)?
- 3.Opening up morphology in action
- 3.1Evaluative suffixes in Spanish: Building a collection
- 3.2Explicit orientations
- 4.Sequential morphological transformations
- 4.1Sequentiality as a resource
- 4.2Suffixation in next-turn
- 4.3Suffixation within the same turn
- 5.Discussion and next steps