Resumptions as multimodal achievements in conversational (story)tellings
Helisten, Marika (2017-04-01)
Marika Helisten, Resumptions as multimodal achievements in conversational (story)tellings, Journal of Pragmatics, Volume 112, April 2017, Pages 1-19, ISSN 0378-2166, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pragma.2017.01.014
© 2017. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/
This paper addresses a recurrent participant’s problem in everyday interaction: how the speaker of an extended, multiunit, (story)telling turn is able to resume their telling after its progressivity was temporarily halted due to an intervening course of action. It investigates resumption as an interactional practice whereby tellers use special devices to make it known to their co-participants that what comes next is not a continuation of just-prior talk, but a return to a previously suspended (story)telling sequence. Using video recordings of mundane interactions in English as data, the study discusses some of the regularities involved in how these special devices are used and identifies a systematic, multimodal practice for resumption. The study focuses on resumptions prefaced with the discourse markers ‘but’ and ‘anyway’, which seem to be used interchangeably in this sequential position but also exhibit subtle differences in terms of their interactional import. Further, video data reveals that simply focusing on the verbal features of resumptions would provide a somewhat narrow view of how they are accomplished in co-present interaction. Resuming a suspended line of telling involves the teller’s complex and systematic — but also, situated — use of verbal, prosodic as well as embodied resources.
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