Sequential organization of post-predicate elements in Korean conversation: Pursuing uptake and modulating action

Kyu-hyun Kim

Abstract

In this paper, various interactional features of turn-constructional unit (TCU) continuation as realized in Korean conversation through post-predicate elements are analyzed from a conversation-analytic perspective. Formulated as increments, post-predicate elements serve as re-completers by expanding the host TCU after it has reached a possible point of completion, which is explicitly marked by the utterance-final verb predicate. In many contexts of TCU continuation, the host TCU tends to be allusively constructed (e.g., in the form of a verb predicate with unexpressed arguments) and saliently indexical of the speaker’s affective stance, and post-predicate elements, mostly taking the form of ‘insertables’, elaborate the host TCU. TCU continuation is often realized when the action of the allusive host TCU is ‘disjunctively’ executed, with the interactional import of being potentially interruptive of the current talk-in-progress. Such an intrusive deployment of the host TCU, which is implicated in the practice of foregrounding the speaker’s collusively motivated responsive stance (e.g., in a confirmation request), is demonstrably oriented to by the speaker, who produces a post-predicate element as a methodic way of mitigating the disjunctive initiation of the prior action. The recipient also orients himself/herself to the potentially topic-derailing import associated with such a disjunctive initiation of action by way of initiating repair and/or promptly resuming his/her talk. As such, the production of a post-predicate element itself, mostly as an insertable that is grammatically and semantically related to the host, may not be directly attributed to interactional contingencies per se; it is often sequentially occasioned by practices geared towards enlivening the sequence being wrapped up, initiating or continuing an assessment sequence by way of highlighting the speaker’s evaluative stance turn-initially, or building the current turn on the prior turn through turn-tying operations. The interactional feature of post-predicate elements ‘re-doing the completion point as a transition-relevance place’ is partially manifested in the way the prosodic contour of the final or whole component of the host TCU is repeated and matched by that of the post-predicate elements.

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