Chapter published in:Mobilizing Others: Grammar and lexis within larger activities
Edited by Carmen Taleghani-Nikazm, Emma Betz and Peter Golato
[Studies in Language and Social Interaction 33] 2020
► pp. 229–252
Chapter 9When emergencies are not urgent
Requesting help in calls to 911 Costa Rica
This study examines the activity of requesting help in emergency calls, using 911 Costa Rica as a case study. Focusing on the notions of contingency-entitlement, benefactors and beneficiaries, and the urgency of the incident, the findings show that the design of the request for non-life-threatening incidents can encode the caller’s low entitlement to the request via the phrase para ver si ‘to see if.’ When using this phrase in conjunction with other linguistic forms (such as modal periphrasis), the caller’s entitlement to the request is further downgraded. Regardless of the type of incident and the linguistic forms used in the request for help, call-takers’ next relevant action is asking the location of the incident or verifying the caller’s information.
Keywords: emergency calls, request for help, entitlement, contingency, benefactors, beneficiaries, animator, Spanish
- Prior research on requests in 911 calls and other settings
- Data and methods
- Background information about 911 Costa Rica
- Explicit requests: “Need”-constructions
- The phrase para ver si ‘to see if’
Published online: 13 May 2020
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