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. 445–476
Justifying departures from progressivity
The Danish turn-initial particle altså
This chapter investigates the use of the Danish particle altså in turn-initial position. Turn-initial altså can be employed for prefacing a wide range of actions, including self- and other-initiated repair, questions, second stories and answers to both yes/no and wh-questions. We show that across these actions, participants in interaction produce altså to indicate (1) that the action they will produce departs from progressivity, (2) that it will expand on something prior, (3) that the departure is, therefore, justified, and (4) that it will contribute to reinstalling the progression of the larger on-going activity. Some of the actions that altså prefaces can also be prefaced by phrases that function like ‘you know’ or ‘I mean’, which seem to do at least some of the work that altså does, but altså is used more frequently and across a wider range of actions. In our discussion, we raise the possibility that the usefulness of altså is due to the fact that it allows its producer to indicate that no one party in the interaction was accountable or at fault for the departure.
Keywords: conversation analysis, turn-initial particle, Danish, grammar, progressivity, repair, questioning, second stories
Published online: 19 July 2018
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