“I have a question for you”: Practices for achieving institutional interaction in Israeli radio phone-in programs

Gonen Dori-Hacohen


Schegloff described utterances such as “lemme ask you a question” as pre-questions, pre-pre’s or pre-delicates (Schegloff 1980). This paper provides a discussion of similar utterances in a specific institutional setting - political radio phone-in programs in Israel. The participants use these utterances in ways that are similar to Schegloff’s description. Yet, the pre-construction has additional institutional functions for the differing roles of the host and the caller. Hosts use these utterances to manage the interaction during overlaps as a means to secure an exclusive turn of talk following them. Callers use them infrequently at the beginning of their talk as story-prompts. Hosts may challenge this usage and the interactional role reversal. Regular callers can use the pre-constructions similarly to hosts. In this way, the pre-constructions in the Israeli radio phone-in programs are employed as interactional practices that relate and construct the roles in this institutional setting.

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