Can temporal clauses be insubordinate?
Evidence from English conversation
In this paper we aim to determine whether temporal clauses can be shown to be insubordinate in everyday American English interaction. In order to investigate grammatical insubordination in conversation, we operationalize the notion of ‘insubordination’ as a specific practice for designing a turn-at-talk and implementing a social action. That is, we treat as ‘insubordinate’ a clause with a grammatically subordinate form that (a) is freestanding, that is, forms a prosodic unit of its own, (b) implements a discrete social action in its sequential context, and (c) has an independent interpretation, that is, is interpretable and actionable in the absence of a main clause. We then examine five different types of freestanding temporal clauses in conversation which might be considered candidate insubordinate uses. Our data show that in some cases both criteria (b) and (c) are lacking, while in others it is criterion (c) that is absent. In none of these cases are all three criteria satisfied at once. We conclude that temporal clauses do not exhibit insubordination in English conversation as do other adverbial clauses such as those with ’if’.
- 2.Adverbial clauses used insubordinately in talk-in-interaction: The case of if
- 3.Data and procedure
- 4.Candidate insubordinate temporal clauses in conversation
- 4.1Freestanding temporal clauses
- 4.2Freestanding temporal clauses as post-completion increments
- 4.3Freestanding temporal clauses in turn continuation by other
- 4.4Freestanding temporal clauses in other repair-initiation
- 4.5Freestanding temporal clauses as responsive actions