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Modified Repeats: One Method for Asserting Primary Rights from Second Position Tanya Stivers Language & Cognition Group Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics.

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Presentation on theme: "Modified Repeats: One Method for Asserting Primary Rights from Second Position Tanya Stivers Language & Cognition Group Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics."— Presentation transcript:

1 Modified Repeats: One Method for Asserting Primary Rights from Second Position Tanya Stivers Language & Cognition Group Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics

2 2 Conversation Analysis Assumes that social interaction is governed by social norms or rules that can be observed in the ways that people use language in interaction Mandates work on spontaneous, naturally occurring, recorded social interaction Mandates that instances of a phenomenon be examined across a corpora of data to ensure that the phenomenon is “real” and generalizable Mandates that “deviant” cases be accounted for

3 3 Today An example of a CA approach to interaction Relies on the collection of instances of the phenomenon “modified repeats” as ways of confirming assertions Describes the function of this practice in ordinary conversation

4 4 Assertions Assertions are utterances that: describe, assess, or state something as fact No response is conditionally relevant, but agreements and confirmations are relatively common

5 5 HS 4 T2 08: simple agreement 1 JOE: (Two) months, ((age of child)) 2 (0.2) 3 JOE: (Three) months, 4 (.) 5 TIM: Go:d they don't know [(^nothin') 6 JOE: [That's an infant. 7 TIM: Ye^a:h. TC Linda & Joan: simple agreement 1 LIN: Craig’s hair rilly wz startin’ 2 tuh look better. 3 JOA: Ye:a:h.

6 6 Confirmations Most confirmations occur in contexts where confirmation is sought: e.g., Requests for confirmation Statements about the interlocutor (B-event statements, Labov & Fanshel, 1977)

7 7 Modified Repeats Modified repeats confirm an assertion in an environment where confirmation was not requested. HS T1 59:46 1 Tim: I think it was some black folks cuz you 2 see(n) ‘em on [(thuh TV) 3 Joe: [It was.

8 8 Modified repeats: Form 1) Removes any epistemic downgrading from the original claim (e.g., “I think”; “It might be”, etc.) 2) Restates the prior assertion using at least enough of the same language to be heard as a “second” 3) They expand and stress the copula/auxiliary verb in the repetition

9 9 Modified Repeats HS T1 59:46 1 Tim: I think it was some black folks cuz you 2 see(n) ‘em on [(thuh TV) 3 Joe: [It was. Epistemic downgrade is dropped in the modified repeat Partial repetition Copula is stressed

10 10 Modified Repeats: Function Although positioned to “second” a prior assertion, modified repeats are competitive:  They assert epistemic authority over the matter at hand  From a responsive (second) position, they work to undermine the prior speaker’s epistemic authority to make the claim

11 11 Housemates 2:30 1 Lan: This’ smelling goo:d_ I might start 2 eating raw meat, 3 (0.2) 4 Jud: S::ee:? 5 (1.0) 6 Lan: Yeah but I’m not [that weird.] 7 Gio: [I th(h)ink ] it’s just 8 all the spices. 9 (0.2) 10 Lan: It is. Repetition and stress Downgrade dropped Modified repeat claims: The account for the meat smelling good is not Gio’s to make

12 12 Housemates Lan: Great_ 2 (0.2) 3 Lan:.h As long as you don’t have too much.= 4 “cuz you remember what happen’=las’= 5 time.” 6 Gio: h[h(h) 7 Lan: [Got (Chel)/(che) [drunk (didn’t sh-) 8 Gio: [An’ it’s uh school 9 night. 10 Jud: °Yeah.° 11 (0.2)/((Lan preparing food)) 11 Lan: It is uh school night. 12 (0.2) 13 Lan: Mister-

13 13 Housemates Lan:.h As long as you don’t have too much.= 4 “cuz you remember what happen’=las’= 5 time.” 6 Gio: h[h(h) 7 Lan: [Got (Chel)/(che) [drunk (didn’t sh-) 8 Gio: [An’ it’s uh school 9 night. 10 Jud: °Yeah.° 11 (0.2)/((Lan preparing food)) 11 Lan: It is uh school night. 12 (0.2) 13 Lan: Mister- Full modified repeat Sanction of Gio’s rights to make the claim

14 14 Epistemic Domains Interactants demonstrate that there is a difference between epistemic independence (knowing something independent of your interlocutor) and epistemic authority/rights (knowing something better than your interlocutor) They use different communication practices for each: “Oh” prefaced agreements assert independent knowledge (Heritage, 2002) Modified repeats assert better knowledge

15 15 Epistemic Independence vs Authority 1 ROB: Oh I’m such a ^so: gla:d t’have a chat 2 with you cz I ^do want t’know’n I’m 3 en^joying it ‘n the children’re love[ly 4 LES: [.tch 5 LES: ^Oh yes.=They ^are lovely:: I[h if a= 6 ROB: [( ) 7 LES: =little exciteable. 8 ROB: Th[a:t’s w’t I thought. 9 LES: [Hm:. Epistemic independence Full modified repeat

16 16 Modified Repeats: Summary  Modified repeats are one type of response to first position assertions which, although agreeing, compete over the “terms of agreement” (Heritage & Raymond, 2005)  They compete over “territories of knowledge”: who has rights to know what and with what authority  This practice specifically competes over epistemic authority

17 17 The contribution of this approach A CA approach combines a detailed qualitative approach to the study of interaction with the benefits of corpus based research: generalizability and distributional evidence for the pervasiveness of a phenomenon

18 18 Thank you!


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