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From the same journal

Prosodic orientation: A practice for sequence organization in broadcast telephone openings

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle



Publication details

JournalJournal of Pragmatics
DatePublished - Jun 2009
Issue number6
Number of pages25
Pages (from-to)1223-1247
Original languageEnglish


Telephone opening sequences from a corpus of English speaking radio phone-in programs are investigated, following a first noticing of the potential for a pause between the presenter’s introductory turn and the caller’s first turn on air. The openings are found to display one of two structures: callers’ first turns may be designed as replies, or ‘seconds’, to the host’s introductory turn; or they may be designed as sequence-initiating, or ‘firsts’. Participants are shown to negotiate the sequential positions of turns primarily – sometimes exclusively – through displayed orientation to other participants’ prosody. Turns that are designed and treated as seconds orient prosodically to prior turns. Turns that are designed as firsts contain little or no prosodic link with previous talk. Turns that could be interpreted as seconds on lexical or action-related grounds may not be treated as such if they do not contain prosodic orientation to prior turns.
The study shows that callers’ first turns on the air are not defined by their position as chronologically placed after the host’s introduction, but by their being positioned in the local sequential context as firsts or seconds. Prosody is shown to be a signaling system for participants’ negotiation over the sequential status of turns

    Research areas

  • Prosody, Sequence organization, Telephone openings, Radio phone-in programs, Conversation analysis

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