Grammar and Interaction

Pivots in German conversation

ORCID logoEmma Betz | Kansas State University
ISBN 9789027226310 | EUR 105.00 | USD 158.00
ISBN 9789027289933 | EUR 105.00 | USD 158.00
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This monograph provides a micro-analytic description of the structure and communicative use of syntactic pivot constructions in German. Using the methodology of Conversation Analysis, this work shows that pivots emerge in interaction in response to local communicative needs.

Exclusively found in spoken German, pivots allow a speaker to extend an utterance beyond a possible completion point in a syntactically and prosodically unobtrusive way. Speakers utilize this basic property to promote context-specific actions: managing boundaries of speakership, bridging sequential and topical junctures, and dealing with different types of interactional trouble.

Through a close examination of syntactic pivots as an interactional resource, this work shows that spoken linguistic structures can only be fully understood if we acknowledge the temporality of language and view grammar as usage-based and negotiable. This book thus contributes to a growing body of research at the intersection of grammar and interaction.

[Studies in Discourse and Grammar, 21] 2008.  xiii, 208 pp.
Publishing status: Available
Table of Contents
“Insgesamt ist das Buch ein sehr lesenswerter Beitrag zur Erforschung von Grammatik und Interaktion des Deutschen. Methodologisch klar an den Prinzipien der Konversationsanalyse orientiert, ist das Verständnis der Analysen durch zahlreiche einführende Elemente und Literaturverweise in den einzelnen Kapiteln auch für mit diesem Rahmen weniger vertraute Leser gesichert. Die übersichtliche Einführung in die Syntax des Deutschen sowie die zahlreichen Hinweise auf aktuelle Arbeiten zum gesprochenen Deutsch machen dieses Buch zu einer empfehlenswerten einführenden Lektüre für alle, die deutschsprachige Interaktionen analysieren.”
“This will be a very useful book to those interested in CA and thoughtful linguistic research.”
“[...] the book is a highly readable contribution to the study of grammar and interaction in German [...]. Additionally and importantly, as betz points out in her closing chapter, this study provides clear evidence of the orderliness of spoken language, and of the divergence between the grammar of spoken language, exemplified by German, where pivot constructions are a coherent unit, and its written counterpart, where a construction like the pivot construction is impossible.”
Cited by

Cited by 17 other publications

Barth-Weingarten, Dagmar, Uwe-A. Küttner & Chase Wesley Raymond
2021. Pivots revisited: Cesuring in action. Open Linguistics 7:1  pp. 613 ff. DOI logo
Betz, Emma
2015. “des is halt so”: Explaining, Justifying, and Convincing with halt. Die Unterrichtspraxis/Teaching German 48:1  pp. 114 ff. DOI logo
Chevalier, Fabienne H.G.
2011. Language and Social Interaction: an Introduction to Conversation Analysis. Nottingham French Studies 50:2  pp. 1 ff. DOI logo
Chevalier, Fabienne H.G. & John Moore
2015. Producing and managing restricted activities. In Producing and Managing Restricted Activities [Pragmatics & Beyond New Series, 255],  pp. 1 ff. DOI logo
Clayman, Steven E. & Chase Wesley Raymond
2015. Modular Pivots: A Resource for Extending Turns at Talk. Research on Language and Social Interaction 48:4  pp. 388 ff. DOI logo
Ghaffarian, Sara
2015. Are you denn married? Applying Insights from Conversation Analysis to Teach denn as a Modal Particle. Die Unterrichtspraxis/Teaching German 48:1  pp. 133 ff. DOI logo
Gubina, Alexandra & Emma Betz
2021. What Do Newsmark-Type Responses Invite? The Response Space After German echt. Research on Language and Social Interaction 54:4  pp. 374 ff. DOI logo
Horlacher, Anne-Sylvie & Simona Pekarek Doehler
2015. ‘Pivotage’ in French talk-in-interaction. Pragmatics. Quarterly Publication of the International Pragmatics Association (IPrA)  pp. 593 ff. DOI logo
Li, Xiaoting
2020. Click-Initiated Self-Repair in Changing the Sequential Trajectory of Actions-in-Progress. Research on Language and Social Interaction 53:1  pp. 90 ff. DOI logo
Oloff, Florence
2018. Chapter 4. Revisiting delayed completions. In Time in Embodied Interaction [Pragmatics & Beyond New Series, 293],  pp. 123 ff. DOI logo
Ponsford, Dan
2023. Meaning differences between the inputs to syntactic blends. Linguistics 61:3  pp. 593 ff. DOI logo
Raymond, Chase Wesley
2022. Suffixation and sequentiality. Interactional Linguistics 2:1  pp. 1 ff. DOI logo
Reed, Beatrice Szczepek
2012. Prosody in Conversation: Implications for Teaching English Pronunciation. In Pragmatics and Prosody in English Language Teaching [Educational Linguistics, 15],  pp. 147 ff. DOI logo
Stevanovic, Melisa, Taina Valkeapää, Elina Weiste & Camilla Lindholm
2022. Joint decision making in a mental health rehabilitation community: The impact of support workers’ proposal design on client responsiveness. Counselling Psychology Quarterly 35:1  pp. 129 ff. DOI logo
van Dijk, Chantal, Ton Dijkstra & Sharon Unsworth
2022. Cross-linguistic influence during online sentence processing in bilingual children. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition 25:4  pp. 691 ff. DOI logo
[no author supplied]
2012. References. In The Handbook of Conversation Analysis,  pp. 741 ff. DOI logo
[no author supplied]
2015. Références bibliographiques. In La dislocation à droite revisitée [Champs linguistiques, ],  pp. 261 ff. DOI logo

This list is based on CrossRef data as of 17 june 2024. Please note that it may not be complete. Sources presented here have been supplied by the respective publishers. Any errors therein should be reported to them.


Main BIC Subject

CFG: Semantics, Pragmatics, Discourse Analysis

Main BISAC Subject

LAN009000: LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General
ONIX Metadata
ONIX 2.1
ONIX 3.0
U.S. Library of Congress Control Number:  2008033088 | Marc record