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Using expletive insertion to pursue and sanction in interaction

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  • Elliott M. Hoey
  • Paul Hömke
  • Emma Löfgren
  • Tayo Neumann
  • William L. Schuerman
  • Kobin H. Kendrick


Publication details

JournalJournal of Sociolinguistics
DateAccepted/In press - 9 Aug 2020
DateE-pub ahead of print - 21 Sep 2020
DatePublished (current) - 3 Mar 2021
Issue number1
Number of pages23
Pages (from-to)3-25
Early online date21/09/20
Original languageEnglish


This article uses conversation analysis to examine constructions like who the fuck is that—sequence-initiating actions into which an expletive like the fuck has been inserted. We describe how this turn-constructional practice fits into and constitutes a recurrent sequence of escalating actions. In this sequence, it is used to pursue an adequate response after an inadequate one was given, and sanction the recipient for that inadequate response. Our analysis contributes to sociolinguistic studies of swearing by offering an account of swearing as a resource for social action.

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© 2020 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an author-produced version of the published paper. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy. Further copying may not be permitted; contact the publisher for details.

    Research areas

  • conversation analysis, escalation, response pursuit, swearing, upgrading

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