Publication details [#16349]
Article in journal
The Linguistic Society of America
One aspect of the relationship between meaning and interaction is explored here by taking the English particle actually, which is characterized by flexibility of syntactic position, and investigating its use in a range of interactional contexts. Syntactic alternatives in the form of clause-initial or clause-final placement are found to be selected by reference to interactional exigencies. The temporally situated, contingent accomplishment of utterances in turns and their component turn-constructional units shows the emergence of meaning across a conversational sequence; it reveals syntactic flexibility as both a resource to be exploited for interactional ends and a constraint on that interaction.