Chapter in:Building Categories in Interaction: Linguistic resources at work
Edited by Caterina Mauri, Ilaria Fiorentini and Eugenio Goria
[Studies in Language Companion Series 220] 2021
► pp. 240–270
Exemplification in interaction
From reformulation to the creation of common ground
The aim of this paper is to examine how exemplification is used in real-time interactions to make reference to conceptual categories. Based on real occurrences of spoken Italian, it is shown that in conversations exemplification is used cooperatively by different participants to perform several functions. Not only can exemplification be used to present or expand the reference to a category by both speaker and addressee, but it can also contribute to the creation of a mutually accepted common ground (examples can be employed to communicate that alignment has been reached or to communicate how such alignment could be reached). Finally, we argue that examples are part of a bigger picture of cooperative reference construction, where speakers collaborate reformulating the reference using different types of strategies.
Keywords: exemplification, collaborative model, reference, categorization, discourse analysis