Chapter published in:Imperative Turns at Talk: The design of directives in action
Edited by Marja-Leena Sorjonen, Liisa Raevaara and Elizabeth Couper-Kuhlen
[Studies in Language and Social Interaction 30] 2017
► pp. 215–240
In the face of resistance
A Finnish practice for insisting on imperatively formatted directives
In this paper we focus on one particular practice for dealing with resistance to an imperatively formatted directive, namely that of re-issuing the directive in a second-person declarative form as a subsequent version. In our data, from Finnish everyday adult interaction, this practice is used either after straightforward resistance or after lack of full commitment to the directive. In the former case, the subsequent version insists on the directive by disregarding the resistance and any accounts given for it. In the latter case, the subsequent version insists on the directive not by merely reiterating it but by dealing with possible obstacles that might prevent the recipient from committing to it. We argue that the second-person declarative form of the subsequent version is understood deontically because the prior imperative form has set up a directive context. Moreover, the declarative form makes explicit a “you – me” axis and treats the intended action, which the recipient is to carry out, as a fait accompli. Whereas imperative forms, lacking person marking, put a focus on the action, declarative forms, with person marking, foreground the participants’ relationship to one another when these forms follow resistance. The use of this practice confirms the earlier claim made about imperatives, namely that they expect immediate commitment, since if imperatively formatted directives are resisted, the imperative form is not repeated as such in the subsequent version.
Keywords: subsequent version, second-person declarative, resistance, deonticity, person, agency, participation, adult interaction, Finnish, English
Published online: 18 August 2017
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