Article published in:Units of Talk – Units of Action
Edited by Beatrice Szczepek Reed and Geoffrey Raymond
[Studies in Language and Social Interaction 25] 2013
► pp. 169–206
At the intersection of turn and sequence organization
On the relevance of “slots” in type-conforming responses to polar interrogatives.
In this chapter I introduce the notion of ‘slots’ as a unit used in the composition of type-conforming responses to yes/no type interrogatives (or YNIs) in English. Specifically, I show that speakers can compose type-conforming responses by reference to two (internally organized) slots associated with the relevancies set in motion by a YNI initiating action: a [response to the interrogative] and a [response to the action] that it conveys. Examining a collection of type-conforming responses I first show that ‘slots’ can be distinguished from turn constructional units (or TCUs, Sacks et al. 1974) by establishing that variations in such responses cannot be reduced to this more familiar unit. For example, in cases where talk past a yes or no is relevant type-conforming responses can be composed of materials drawn from (at least) two distinct TCU types (one for each slot) that are packaged within a singleintonation contour; in other cases, speakers can devote two TCUs to manage the relevancies associated with a single slot. Second, I describe the basic features of an ‘unmarked’ [response to interrogative] and show that a dense array of alternative actions can be composed via speaker’s alterations to one or more of the material elements used to compose it. Through these observations I illustrate how speakers adapt the material resources used to compose their turns to the relevancies posed by the sequence of action to which they contribute. That is, by focusing on variations in type-conforming responses I show how the complex obligations entailed in normatively organized social action are fulfilled in talk-in-interaction, and how the primary constituents of turn organization – grammar, prosody, and word selection – are manipulated and pressed into service on their behalf.
Published online: 22 October 2013
Cited by other publications
Deppermann, Arnulf & Susanne Günthner
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Hoey, Elliott M.
Kendrick, Kobin H. & Judith Holler
Pizarro Pedraza, Andrea
Raymond, Geoffrey & Jack Sidnell
Robinson, Jeffrey D.
Szczepek Reed, Beatrice
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