ELTE BTK Magyar Nyelvtudományi és Finnugor Intézet

Frick, Maria (Helsinki)

nyomtatható változat

Initiating sequence closure with voiced, sung and codeswitched accounts

In conversation, participants do not always co-operate socially and interactionally. The sequences discussed in this paper are built around other-repairs, complaints about copresent participants, and requests that are refused. Such problematic sequences tend to be prolonged in what are called post-expansions of the sequence, where the person who caused the problem gives an account of his or her actions either by justifying or backing off from them. Sometimes the account is not given by the problem-causer, but the "victim" or a third participant. Accounts can also be co-constructed by two or more participants.This paper investigates a set of assessments that function as accounts of problematic actions in Finnish conversations. Assessments are typically (but not necessarily) subject complement clauses such as Sillä se on oikeus ja kohtuus 'Because it is right and just'. The data have been chosen on the basis of their sequential positioning on the one hand and the style of their production mode  on the other. That is, 1) they all form the first pair part of the final adjacency pair in the sequence, and 2) they are contextualized by either voicing, singing or codeswitching. The examples are analysed in their context, and the conclusion is drawn that it is not coincidental that the contextualized accounts end the problematic sequences. Problematic actions (such as complaints or refusing a request) are often followed by several attempts by the participants to end the sequence, but the contextualized ones are the ones that succeed in doing so. The contextualized accounts often become the topic of the next sequence. The participants can, for example, start talking about the proposition of the accounting assessment, or the song that formed the account. In some cases the contextualized account is followed only by laughter, a particle showing alignment, or a short comment, after which a new topic is started. Some of the accounts are repeated or reiterated by another participant before the topic changes. In videotaped conversations, one can observe how the participants focus their attention during the production of the contextualized accounts - and how this attention is dispersed after it.This paper shows how voicing, singing and codeswitching are used in similar actions and sequential positions: in accounting assessments that end problematic sequences. Furthermore, the  conclusion is drawn that it is in fact  the effect of the contextualisation that brings the sequence to an end.

The paper will be presented in English.