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Pre-empting reference problems in conversation

  • Jan Svennevig (a1)

Abstract

The topic of this article is how conversationalists deal with emergent problems of reference in the construction of a turn at talk. It analyzes practices for modifying and expanding a turn-constructional unit in progress to accommodate information that will introduce a referent to the interlocutor or check his or her familiarity with it. One set of practices expands the turn after the referring expression has been produced: apokoinou constructions and appositions. A second, and previously undescribed, practice is identified by which speakers insert referent identification before the referring expression has been produced. In this practice, speakers initiate two separate sentence structures and complete them both by merging them in a common complement. This practice has the advantage of embedding the subordinate activity of establishing reference within the main sentence frame, and furthermore minimizes the disruption of sequential progressivity of the talk. (Turn construction, reference, expansions, apokoinou, apposition, progressivity)*

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Pre-empting reference problems in conversation

  • Jan Svennevig (a1)

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