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. 371–412
Turn-initial voilà in closings in French
Reaffirming authority and responsibility over the sequence
French has several ways of responding positively to a previous turn, such as oui, ouais, d’accord, tout à fait, exactement, bien sûr, voilà, etc. This chapter deals with voilà, offering a general overview of its uses in interaction before focusing on voilà in turn-initial position in closing environments. Analyses reveal that voilà is not equally used by all of the participants in social interaction, but rather by speakers whom the co-participants recognize as experts and/or responsible for the on-going activity. Stand-alone voilà achieves sequence closing in unproblematic ways and retrospectively asserts the speaker’s epistemic, organizational and moral authority over the sequence. By contrast, turn-initial voilà often occurs in a context where the co-participants disalign with the projected closing. The use of voilà addresses a possible emerging competition by further expanding the on-going action and thereby controlling possible next sequential slots. In these competitive contexts, stand-alone voilà and turn-initial voilà are used by speakers to re-affirm their authority over the sequence. Turn-initial voilà followed by a new turn constructional unit (TCU) orients to the possible progressivity of the activity, whereas turn-initial voilà with a continuation within the same TCU expands the on-going sequence and creates new opportunities for the co-participants to realign with it.
Keywords: voilà, French in interaction, sequence closing, epistemic authority, responsibility, resistance, competition, disalignment, multimodality
Published online: 19 July 2018
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2014 Ressources linguistiques pour la gestion de l’intersubjectivité dans la parole en interaction. Analyses conversationnelles et phonétiques [Linguistic resources for the management of the intersubjectivity in talk-in-interaction. Conversation and phonetic analyses]. Doctoral Thesis: University of Lund.
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