Publication details [#17541]

Wong, Jean. 2000. Repetition in Conversation: A Look at "First and Second Sayings". Research on Language and Social Interaction 33 (4) : 407–424.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Place, Publisher
Lawrence Erlbaum


Repetition has been described as one of the most misunderstood phenomena in psycholinguistics (Ochs & Schieffelin, 1983). Indeed, repetition is a human, social activity, clearly part of our everyday conduct and behavior and not just a marker of a "disfluent" or "sloppy" speaker (Schegloff, 1987). Using the framework of conversation analysis, I discuss one form of repetition found in ordinary conversation, a form in which a speaker produces a "first saying" and, subsequent to that, a "second saying" within the same turn. Moreover, an inserted element comes between the first and second sayings. I propose that this particular form of repetition is used by speakers as a storytelling technique in the accomplishment of the action of resumption. What might be at stake in this form of repetition is something that might be referred to as unspoken repair (or unspoken repair projection). By extension, if one considers this form of repetition as an oral practice of everyday conversation (Hall, 1993), one might consider what lies in store in the second language acquisition context. I conclude this article with some reflections on implications for the nonnative speaker environment, based on an examination of nonnative speaker English conversation in which this form of repetition does not occur.