Complement clauses as turn continuations: The Finnish et(tä)-clause

Eeva-Leena Seppänen and Ritva Laury


This paper examines the use of että-clauses in Finnish everyday conversation for extending a speaker’s turn after a possible point of turn completion for the purpose of pursuing uptake from a turn recipient. Although että-clauses are considered complements in most grammatical descriptions of Finnish, the paper questions their status as subordinate clauses. We show that they nevertheless could be considered to function as increments, as either Extensions (Glue-ons, in terms of Couper-Kuhlen & Ono, this volume) or Free Constituents. This is interesting in view of Ford, Fox & Thompson’s (2002) definition of increments as “nonmain-clause continuations after a possible point of turn completion.” We also show that what makes että-clauses ideal for the pursuit of uptake is that both as a conjunction and particle, että functions to open up the participation framework and import new voices to the conversation.

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