OKAY across Languages

Toward a comparative approach to its use in talk-in-interaction

ORCID logoEmma Betz | University of Waterloo
ORCID logoArnulf Deppermann | Leibniz-Institut für Deutsche Sprache
ORCID logoLorenza Mondada | University of Basel
ORCID logoMarja-Leena Sorjonen | University of Helsinki
ISBN 9789027208156 | EUR 99.00 | USD 149.00
ISBN 9789027260284 | EUR 99.00 | USD 149.00
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OKAY has been termed ‘a spectacular expression’ and ‘America’s greatest invention.’ This volume offers an in-depth empirical study of the uses that have resulted from its global spread. Focusing on actions and interactional practices, it investigates OKAY in a variety of settings in 13 languages. The collected work showcases the importance of a holistic analysis: prosodic realization and the placement of OKAY in its larger sequential and multimodal context emerge as constitutive for distinct uses in individual languages. An inductive approach makes it possible to identify practices not previously documented, for example OKAY used for ‘qualified acceptance’ or as a ‘continuer’, and to document a core of recurrent, similar uses across languages. This work also outlines new research directions for comparative analysis by offering first insights into the diachronic development of OKAY’s uses and the relationship of OKAY to other particles in specific languages.
[Studies in Language and Social Interaction, 34] 2021.  vii, 440 pp.
Publishing status: Available
Table of Contents
“This edited volume directs our attention to the kind of herculean steps necessary to achieve deeper and more pragmatic understandings of OKAYs-in-interaction across languages and cultures — an exemplary contribution examining ordinary moments in extraordinary ways.”
“The volume under review is a most welcome contribution to the study of interaction. It includes meticulous and substantial analyses of the use of one particular linguistic item across several languages, and employs solid methodology within a unified theoretical frame; it will be most appreciated by people who already have some experience with the analysis of similar phenomena. In addition, the book is an excellent example of academic cooperation, evidenced not only in the multiple authorships of the individual chapters and the participation of all authors in the empirical grounding of the cross-linguistic chapters, but also in the extensive cross-referencing among the studies. [...] The four editors have put together an exciting volume that sets new standards for future work, not only on OKAY but also on other particles. The work may well serve as a model for holistic analyses of interaction.”
Cited by

Cited by 9 other publications

Couper-Kuhlen, Elizabeth
2021. Language over time. Interactional Linguistics 1:1  pp. 33 ff. DOI logo
Couper-Kuhlen, Elizabeth
2021. OH + OKAY in informing sequences: On fuzzy boundaries in a particle combination. Open Linguistics 7:1  pp. 816 ff. DOI logo
Dingemanse, Mark
2024. Interjections at the Heart of Language. Annual Review of Linguistics 10:1  pp. 257 ff. DOI logo
Fele, Giolo
2023. When There Is a Language Issue. In Emergency Communication,  pp. 117 ff. DOI logo
Henricson, Sofie, Anne Mäntynen, Marie Nelson & Marjo Savijärvi
2023. OKAY as a content word: Regulating language and constructing centres of norms in Finnish, Finland-Swedish, and Sweden-Swedish academic writing consultation meetings. Nordic Journal of Linguistics  pp. 1 ff. DOI logo
Heritage, John
2022. The Multiple Accountabilities of Action. In Action Ascription in Interaction,  pp. 297 ff. DOI logo
Hilmisdóttir, Helga, Martina Huhtamäki & Susanna Karlsson
2023. Pragmatic borrowing from English. Nordic Journal of Linguistics 46:3  pp. 255 ff. DOI logo
Thompson, Teresa L. & Wayne A. Beach
2023. Chapter 1. Methodological insights for the study of communication in health. In A Pragmatic Agenda for Healthcare [Pragmatics & Beyond New Series, 338],  pp. 16 ff. DOI logo
Weidner, Matylda
2023. Chapter 4. Responses to polar questions in Polish. In Responding to Polar Questions across Languages and Contexts [Studies in Language and Social Interaction, 35],  pp. 109 ff. DOI logo

This list is based on CrossRef data as of 15 march 2024. Please note that it may not be complete. Sources presented here have been supplied by the respective publishers. Any errors therein should be reported to them.


Main BIC Subject

CFG: Semantics, Pragmatics, Discourse Analysis

Main BISAC Subject

LAN009030: LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / Pragmatics
ONIX Metadata
ONIX 2.1
ONIX 3.0
U.S. Library of Congress Control Number:  2020048726 | Marc record