Chapter in:OKAY across Languages: Toward a comparative approach to its use in talk-in-interaction
Edited by Emma Betz, Arnulf Deppermann, Lorenza Mondada and Marja-Leena Sorjonen
[Studies in Language and Social Interaction 34] 2021
OKAY emerging as a cross-linguistic object of study in prior research
This chapter sets the context for the articles in the volume – explorations in the use of OKAY in a diverse set of languages, including American English, Brazilian Portuguese, Danish, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Polish, and Swedish. We first outline the origins of OKAY in American English and its spread to other languages as a loanword, motivating this study of OKAY. We then review the state of the art in research on OKAY in spoken interaction in a variety of settings. Since this volume makes a case for investigating OKAY empirically as it is actually used in particular occasions of spoken and embodied interaction, the review of existing work on OKAY will be connected to relevant developments in Conversation Analysis (Sidnell 2010; Clifft 2016) and Interactional Linguistics (Couper-Kuhlen and Selting 2018). We close with a discussion of overarching themes and promising new research directions that emerge from existing work.