Chapter published in:Between Turn and Sequence: Turn-initial particles across languages
Edited by John Heritage and Marja-Leena Sorjonen
[Studies in Language and Social Interaction 31] 2018
► pp. 155–190
Turn-initial particles in English
The cases of oh and well
This chapter examines the English turn-initial particles oh and well. It begins with a consideration of their distinctive usages and functions in three basic sequential positions (first, second and third), arguing that both exhibit what Schegloff (1996) terms ‘positional sensitivity’. The chapter then considers some larger contrasts between the two particles, including distinctions between epistemic (oh) and action-projecting (well) functions, forward- (well) and backward- (oh) looking orientations, and their underlying semantic characteristics.
Keywords: English, sequence organization, epistemics, preference, action formation, turn initiation, oh , well
Published online: 19 July 2018
Church of England
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