The Value of Vale: Negotiating the Progressivity of Service in a Market Restaurant

Rosina Márquez Reiter, Marina Noelia Cantarutti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper examines the interactional functions of the Spanish conversational particle vale in the self-recorded service encounter interactions of a bidialectal restaurant server in an Ecuadorian restaurant in Madrid whose clientele are, by and large, of Ecuadorian descent. The article details the sequential contexts in which vale is found as well as the grammatical and prosodic design of the turns where it is deployed, and contrasts its use with slots in the same dataset where alternatives were deployed instead. It also compares the findings with resonant descriptions from prior interactional studies of its English counterpart: okay, given the similarities in the interactional functions observed for vale. Vale was identified as a standalone particle in third position during the ordering activity bearing rising or falling intonation to register the (in)completeness of the order and contingencies around it, and also as a turn-final agreement-eliciting tag with rising-falling intonation appended to announcements of imminent service to welcome clients or serve the dishes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-88
Number of pages30
JournalContrastive Pragmatics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 3 Sept 2021

Bibliographical note

© Rosina Márquez Reiter and MARINA CANTARUTTI, 2021

Funding Information:
The data collection was supported by a Santander mobility research grant (2017) in the context of a Spanish Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación grant on “Linguistic Modes: an ethnographic approach to new speakers in Europe” (FF12015-67232-C3-1-P).


  • confirmation-eliciting tag
  • Ecuadorian and Peninsular Spanish
  • multiactivity
  • progressivity
  • standalone particle

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