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Keeping your footing: conversational completion in three-part sequences.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date1996
JournalJournal of Pragmatics
Journal number2
Volume25
Number of pages21
Pages151-171
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

In a rapprochement between two rather different domains of pragmatics, we apply Goffman's notion of ‘footing’ to what happens when one speaker completes another speaker's utterance. Participants manage this in three-part sequences, in the third turn of which the original speaker accepts or rejects not merely the propositional content of the putative completion, but also the footing on which the completion is uttered. The heart of the paper demonstrates participants' orientation to footing in cases where the original utterance is on the footing of ‘author’, ‘relayer’ and ‘spokesperson’ in Levinson's terminology. Then we show details of how such completions are ratified (with agreement tokens, literal echos of the completion, or marks of appreciation) and rejected (by markers of dispreference and possibly by zero-appreciation turns). We then turn our attention to some findings that emerge from the analysis. These include: the role played by a suffix at the end of a completion; the limit to the power of footing to overcome the preference organisation of corrections; and how (some) completions manage to keep the floor.