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. 241–270
Imperatives and responsiveness in Finnish conversation
This paper focuses on two types of imperative turn design for implementing a responsive action in Finnish interaction, one without modal particles (bare imperatives) and another one containing the particle vaa(n) (coming in this usage close to, e.g., English just, German mal or Danish bare; modulated imperatives). It is shown that these two imperatively formatted turn designs are used differently for responding and that the prior actions to which they respond are different. More specifically, these two turn design types can implement different kinds of responsive action (e.g., giving support, encouraging, giving permission), depending on their sequential position and the relation of the participants to a possible larger project in which the action being discussed forms a part. In most of the cases the imperatively formatted turn is given as a response to the prior speaker’s mentioning of a possible intention to do a certain action, expressed with a first-person declarative or interrogative clause in the present tense. The turns formatted as bare imperatives respond to a prior turn that presents the nominated action as a future fact, whereas the turn design [IMP + vaa(n)] is used to respond to a turn in which the prior speaker has displayed uncertainty about whether to do the action nominated. The turn design with the modal particle vaa(n) indexes more precisely the kind of responsive action that the turn is implementing, related to the use of the particle as a focus particle. This character of the [IMP + vaa(n)] design makes it usable for removing uncertainty by the co-participant that has remained unspoken in the interaction but that the recipient has detected. It is argued that the responsive character of the imperatively formatted turn and the type of prior turn it responds to have an impact on the extent to which they express directive force.
Keywords: imperative, response, modal particles, repetition, giving permission, encouraging, giving a go-ahead, invoking responsiveness, deontic force, benefit, sequential position, adult interaction, Finnish
Published online: 18 August 2017
Brown, Penelope, and Stephen C. Levinson
Clayman, Steven E., and John Heritage
Couper-Kuhlen, Elizabeth, and Marja Etelämäki
Degand, Liesbeth, Bert Cornillie, and Paola Pietrandrea
Duvallon, Outi, and Rea Peltola
Forthcoming. “Deontic readings of the imperative through the prism of force dynamic relations: Permissive and preventive utterances with the discourse marker vaa(n) in Finnish”.
Hakulinen, Auli, Maria Vilkuna, Riitta Korhonen, Vesa Koivisto, Tarja Riitta Heinonen, and Irja Alho
Lindström, Jan, Camilla Lindholm, and Ritva Laury
Sorjonen, Marja-Leena, and Heidi Vepsäläinen
Stivers, Tanya, and Federico Rossano
Cited by other publications
No author info given
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