From the same journal

From the same journal

'Open' class repair initiators in response to sequential sources of troubles in conversation

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  • P Drew


Publication details

JournalJournal of Pragmatics
DatePublished - Jul 1997
Issue number1
Number of pages33
Pages (from-to)69-101
Original languageEnglish


When speakers initiate repair on the talk of co-participants in conversation, they may use repair initiation forms which locate the specific source of trouble (the repairable) in the prior turn; alternatively, they may select forms which treat the whole of the prior turn as in some way problematic. This paper explores the latter, i.e. 'open' forms of repair initiation, e.g. 'pardon?', 'sorry?', 'what?' etc. The analysis here, of a corpus of instances of this kind of repair initiation in naturally occurring telephone conversations, focuses not on the repair management sequence, but rather on the sequential environment in which 'open' class NTRI's are employed. It explores two environments in particular, involving first an apparently abrupt shift in topic, and second an apparently inapposite, or even disaffiliative, response by the other speaker. Analysis of these environments, and of the troubles in 'understanding' which may be associated with them, suggests that troubles generating this form of other-initiated repair shade into matters of alignment or affiliation between speakers (and hence conflict in talk). It also underlines how far 'understanding' is related to the sequential organization of talk.

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