Skip to content
BY-NC-ND 4.0 license Open Access Published by De Gruyter Open Access May 24, 2018

Investigating Inferences in Sequences of Action: The Case of Claiming “Just-Now” Recollection with Oh That’s Right

  • Uwe-A. Küttner EMAIL logo
From the journal Open Linguistics

Abstract

This paper offers an exploratory Interactional Linguistic account of the role that inferences play in episodes of ordinary conversational interaction. To this end, it systematically reconsiders the conversational practice of using the lexico-syntactic format oh that’s right to implicitly claim “just-now” recollection of something previously known, but momentarily confused or forgotten. The analyses reveal that this practice typically occurs as part of a larger sequential pattern that the participants orient to and which serves as a procedure for dealing with, and generating an account for, one participant’s production of an inapposite action. As will be shown, the instantiation and progressive realization of this sequential procedure requires local inferential work from the participants. While some facets of this inferential work appear to be shaped by the particular context of the ongoing interaction, others are integral to the workings of the sequence as such. Moreover, the analyses suggest that participants’ understanding of oh that’s right as embodying an implicit memory claim rests on an inference which is based on a kind of semanticpragmatic compositionality. The paper thus illustrates how inferences in conversational interaction can be systematically studied and points to the merits of combining an interactional and a linguistic perspective.

References

Antaki, Charles. 2012. Affiliative and disaffiliative candidate understandings. Discourse Studies 14 (5). 531-547.10.1177/1461445612454074Search in Google Scholar

Bach, Kent. 2006. The top 10 misconceptions about implicature. http://userwww.sfsu.edu/kbach/TopTen.pdf (accessed 29 March 2017) published as: Bach, Kent. 2006. The top 10 misconceptions about implicature. In Birner, Betty J., Gregory Ward (eds.), Drawing the boundaries of meaning: Neo-Gricean studies in pragmatics and semantics in honor of Laurence R. Horn, 21-30. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.10.1075/slcs.80.03bacSearch in Google Scholar

Barnes, Scott E. 2011a. Claiming mutual stance: On the use of “that’s right” by a person with aphasia. Research on Language and Social Interaction 44 (4). 359-384.10.1080/08351813.2011.619312Search in Google Scholar

Barnes, Scott E. 2011b. Aphasia and topic talk: A case study. PhD thesis. Sydney, New South Wales: Macquarie University, Australia.Search in Google Scholar

Barth-Weingarten, Dagmar. 2008. Interactional linguistics. In Antos, Gerd, Eija Ventola. (eds.), in cooperation with Weber, T. Handbooks of Applied Linguistics: Handbook of Interpersonal Communication (Vol. 2). 77-105. Berlin, New York: de Gruyter.10.1515/9783110211399.1.77Search in Google Scholar

Betz, Emma. 2014. Confirming and agreeing: Different uses of responsive ‘genau’ in German. Paper presented at the 4th International Conference on Conversation Analysis (ICCA-14), University of California, Los Angeles, 26 June.Search in Google Scholar

Betz, Emma. 2015. Indexing epistemic access through different confirmation formats: Uses of responsive (das) stimmt in German interaction. Journal of Pragmatics 87. 251-266.10.1016/j.pragma.2015.03.018Search in Google Scholar

Betz, Emma, Andrea Golato. 2008. Remembering relevant information and withholding relevant next actions: The German token ‘ach ja’. Research on Language and Social Interaction 41(1). 55-98.10.1080/08351810701691164Search in Google Scholar

Clark, Herbert H. 1996. Using language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Search in Google Scholar

Clift, Rebecca. 2016. Conversation Analysis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Search in Google Scholar

Clift, Rebecca, Paul Drew, John Local. 2013. “Why that, now?”: Position and composition in interaction (or, don’t leave out the position in composition). In Kempson, Ruth, Christine Howes, Martin Orwin (eds.), Language, music and interaction, 211-232. London: College Publications.Search in Google Scholar

Couper-Kuhlen, Elizabeth. 2012. On affectivity and preference in responses to rejection. Text & Talk 32 (4). 453-457.10.1515/text-2012-0022Search in Google Scholar

Couper-Kuhlen, Elizabeth, Dagmar Barth-Weingarten. 2011. A system for transcribing talk-in-interaction: GAT 2 - Translated and adapted for English. Gesprächsforschung - Online-Zeitschrift zur verbalen Interaktion 12. 1-51. http://www.gespraechsforschung-online.de/fileadmin/dateien/heft2011/px-gat2-englisch.pdf (accessed 27 April 2017)Search in Google Scholar

Couper-Kuhlen, Elizabeth, Margret Selting. 2001. Introducing Interactional Linguistics. In: Selting, Margret, Elizabeth Couper-Kuhlen (eds.), Studies in Interactional Linguistics, 1-22. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.10.1075/sidag.10.02couSearch in Google Scholar

Couper-Kuhlen, Elizabeth, Margret Selting. 2018. Interactional Linguistics. Studying language in social interaction.Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 10.1017/9781139507318Search in Google Scholar

Deppermann, Arnulf. 2007. Grammatik und Semantik aus gesprächsanalytischer Sicht (Grammar and semantics from a conversation analytic perspective). Berlin, New York: de Gruyter.Search in Google Scholar

Deppermann, Arnulf. 2012. How does ‘cognition’ matter to the analysis of talk-in-interaction? Language Sciences 34. 746-767. Detges, Ulrich (n.d.). Implikaturen und Inferenzen. Sagen, Meinen und Verstehen; Sprachgebrauch und Sprachsystem. (Implicatures and inferences. Saying, meaning, understanding; Language use and language system.) https://www.academia.edu/11481145/Implikaturen_und_Inferenzen._Sagen_Meinen_und_Verstehen_Sprachgebrauch_und_Sprachsystem (accessed 29 March 2017)Search in Google Scholar

Drew, Paul. 1997. ‘Open’ class repair initiators in response to sequential sources of troubles in conversation. Journal of Pragmatics 28 (1). 69-101.10.1016/S0378-2166(97)89759-7Search in Google Scholar

Drew, Paul. 2005. Is confusion a state of mind? In te Molder, Hedwig, Jonathan Potter (eds.), Conversation and cognition, 161-183. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.10.1017/CBO9780511489990.008Search in Google Scholar

Drew, Paul. 2017. The interface between pragmatics and conversation analysis. In press. In Illie, Cornelia, Neal R. Norrick (eds.), Pragmatics and its interfaces. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/313847355_The_Interface_between_Pragmatics_and_Conversation_Analysis (accessed 29 March 2017)Search in Google Scholar

Enfield, Nick J. 2006. Social consequences of common ground. In Enfield, Nick J., Stephen C. Levinson (eds.), Roots of human sociality: Culture, cognition and interaction, 399-430. Oxford: Berg Publishers (Bloomsbury).10.4324/9781003135517-20Search in Google Scholar

Fox, Barbara A., Sandra A. Thompson, Cecilia E. Ford, Elizabeth Couper-Kuhlen. 2013. Conversation analysis and linguistics. In Sidnell, Jack, Tanya Stivers (eds.), The Handbook of Conversation Analysis, 726-740. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.10.1002/9781118325001.ch36Search in Google Scholar

Garfinkel, Harold. 1963. A conception of, and experiments with, “trust” as a condition of stable concerted actions. In Harvey, O.J. (ed.), Motivation and social interaction: Cognitive determinants, 187-238. New York: Ronald Press.Search in Google Scholar

Garfinkel, Harold. 1967. Studies in Ethnomethodology. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall.Search in Google Scholar

Gumperz, John J. 1982. Discourse strategies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.10.1017/CBO9780511611834Search in Google Scholar

Haugh, Michael. 2017. Implicature and the inferential substrate. In Cap, Piotr, Marta Dynel (eds.), Implicitness: From lexis to discourse, 281-304. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.10.1075/pbns.276.13hauSearch in Google Scholar

Hayano, Karou. 2013. Question design in conversation. In Sidnell, Jack, Tanya Stivers (eds.), The Handbook of Conversation Analysis, 395-414. Malden, Mass.: Wiley-Blackwell.10.1002/9781118325001.ch19Search in Google Scholar

Heritage, John. 1984a. Garfinkel and Ethnomethodology. Cambridge: Polity Press.Search in Google Scholar

Heritage, John. 1984b. A change-of-state token and aspects of its sequential placement. In Atkinson, J. Maxwell, John Heritage (eds.), Structures of social action: Studies in Conversation Analysis, 299-345. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.10.1017/CBO9780511665868.020Search in Google Scholar

Heritage, John. 1998. Oh-prefaced responses to inquiry. Language in Society 27. 291-334.10.1017/S0047404500019990Search in Google Scholar

Heritage, John. 2002. Oh-prefaced responses to assessments: A method of modifying agreement/disagreement. In Ford, Cecilia E., Barbara A. Fox, Sandra A. Thompson (eds.), The language of turn and sequence, 196-224. New York: Oxford University Press.Search in Google Scholar

Heritage, John. 2005. Cognition in discourse. In te Molder, Hedwig, Jonathan Potter (eds.), Conversation and cognition, 184-202. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.10.1017/CBO9780511489990.009Search in Google Scholar

Heritage, John. 2012. Epistemics in action: Action formation and territories of knowledge. Research on Language and Social Interaction 45 (1). 1-29.10.1080/08351813.2012.646684Search in Google Scholar

Heritage, John. 2013a. Epistemics in conversation. In Sidnell, Jack, Tanya Stivers (eds.), The Handbook of Conversation Analysis, 370-394. Malden, Mass.: Wiley Blackwell.10.1002/9781118325001.ch18Search in Google Scholar

Heritage, John. 2013b. Action formation and its epistemic (and other) backgrounds. Discourse Studies 15 (5). 551-578.10.1177/1461445613501449Search in Google Scholar

Heritage, John. 2015. Well-prefaced turns in English conversation: A conversation analytic perspective. Journal of Pragmatics 88. 88-104.10.1016/j.pragma.2015.08.008Search in Google Scholar

Hopper, Robert. 2005. A cognitive agnostic in Conversation Analysis: When do strategies affect spoken interaction? In te Molder, Hedwig, Jonathan Potter (eds.), Conversation and cognition, 134-158. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.10.1017/CBO9780511489990.007Search in Google Scholar

Hutchby, Ian, Robin Wooffitt. 2008. Conversation Analysis: Principles, practices and applications (2nd edition). Cambridge: Polity Press.Search in Google Scholar

Keisanen, Tiina. 2007. Stancetaking as an interactional activity: Challenging the prior speaker. In Engelbretson, Robert (ed.), Stancetaking in discourse: Subjectivity, evaluation, interaction, 253-282. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.10.1075/pbns.164.10keiSearch in Google Scholar

Koivisto, Aino. 2013. On the preference for remembering: Acknowledging an answer with Finnish Ai Nii(n) (“Oh That’s Right”). Research on Language and Social Interaction 46 (3). 277-297.10.1080/08351813.2013.810411Search in Google Scholar

Küttner, Uwe-A. 2016. That-initial turns in conversation - An interactional linguistic investigation of two formats for designedly tying a current turn to a prior. PhD thesis. Potsdam: University of Potsdam.Search in Google Scholar

Levinson, Stephen C. 1983. Pragmatics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.10.1017/CBO9780511813313Search in Google Scholar

Levinson, Stephen C. 2006a. Cognition at the heart of human interaction. Discourse Studies 8 (1). 85-93.10.1177/1461445606059557Search in Google Scholar

Levinson, Stephen C. 2006b. On the human “Interaction Engine”. In Enfield, Nick J., Stephen C. Levinson (eds.), Roots of human sociality: Culture, cognition and interaction, 39-69. Oxford: Berg Publishers (Bloomsbury).10.4324/9781003135517-3Search in Google Scholar

Levinson, Stephen C. 2013. Action formation and ascription. In Sidnell, Jack, Tanya Stivers (eds.), The Handbook of Conversation Analysis, 103-130. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.10.1002/9781118325001.ch6Search in Google Scholar

Local, John. 1996. Conversational phonetics: Some aspects of news receipts in everyday talk. In Couper-Kuhlen, Elizabeth, Margret Selting (eds.), Prosody in conversation: Interactional studies, 177-230. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.10.1017/CBO9780511597862.007Search in Google Scholar

Macagno, Fabrizio. 2017. Defaults and inferences in interpretation. Journal of Pragmatics 117. 280-290.10.1016/j.pragma.2017.06.005Search in Google Scholar

MacWhinney, Brian. 2007. The TalkBank Project. In Beal, Joan C., Karen P. Corrigan, Hermann L. Moisl, (eds.), Creating and digitizing language corpora: Synchronic databases (Vol. 1), 163-180. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave-Macmillan.10.1057/9780230223936_7Search in Google Scholar

Pomerantz, Anita. 1984a. Agreeing and disagreeing with assessments: Some features of preferred/dispreferred turn shapes. In Atkinson, J. Maxwell, John Heritage (eds.), Structures of social action: Studies in Conversation Analysis, 57-101. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.10.1017/CBO9780511665868.008Search in Google Scholar

Pomerantz, Anita. 1984b. Pursuing a response. In Atkinson, J. Maxwell, John Heritage (eds.), Structures of social action: Studies in Conversation Analysis, 152-163. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Search in Google Scholar

Pomerantz, Anita. 2017. Inferring the purpose of a prior query and responding accordingly. In Raymond, Geoffrey, Gene H. Lerner, John Heritage (eds.), Enabling human conduct: Studies of talk-in-interaction in honor of Emanuel A. Schegloff, 61-76. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.10.1075/pbns.273.04pomSearch in Google Scholar

Potter, Jonathan, Hedwig te Molder. 2005. Talking cognition: Mapping and making the terrain. In te Molder, Hedwig, Jonathan Potter (eds.), Conversation and cognition, 1-54. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.10.1017/CBO9780511489990.002Search in Google Scholar

Raymond, Geoffrey. 2003. Grammar and social organization: Yes/no interrogatives and the structure of responding. American Sociological Review 68 (3). 939-967.10.2307/1519752Search in Google Scholar

Raymond, Geoffrey. 2010. Prosodic variation in responses: The case of type-conforming responses to yes/no interrogatives. In Barth-Weingarten, Dagmar, Elizabeth Reber, Margret Selting (eds.), Prosody in interaction, 109-129. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.10.1075/sidag.23.12raySearch in Google Scholar

Robinson, Jeffrey D. 2009. Managing counterinformings: An interactional practice for soliciting information that facilitates reconciliation of speakers’ incompatible positions. Human Communication Research 35. 561-587.10.1111/j.1468-2958.2009.01363.xSearch in Google Scholar

Sacks, Harvey 1987. On the preferences for agreement and contiguity in sequences in conversation. In Button, Graham, John R.E. Lee (eds.), Talk and social organization, 54-69. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.Search in Google Scholar

Sacks, Harvey. 1995. Lectures on conversation vol. 1 (ed. by Gail Jefferson). Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing.10.1002/9781444328301Search in Google Scholar

Sacks, Harvey, Emanuel A. Schegloff. 1979. Two preferences in the organization of reference to persons in conversation and their interaction. In Psathas, George (ed.), Everyday language: Studies in Ethnomethodology, 15-21. New York: Irvington.Search in Google Scholar

Sacks, Harvey, Emanuel A. Schegloff, Gail Jefferson. 1974. A simplest systematics for the organization of turn-taking for conversation. Language 50. 696-735.10.1353/lan.1974.0010Search in Google Scholar

Schegloff, Emanuel A. 1986. The routine as achievement. Human Studies 9 (2-3). 111-151.10.1007/BF00148124Search in Google Scholar

Schegloff, Emanuel A. 1990. On the organization of sequences as a source of “coherence” in talk-in-interaction. In Dorval, Bruce (ed.), Conversational organization and its development, 51-77. Norwood, NJ: Ablex.Search in Google Scholar

Schegloff, Emanuel A. 1991. Conversation analysis and socially shared cognition. In Resnick, Lauren B., John M. Levine, Stephanie D. Teasley (eds.), Perspectives on socially shared cognition, 150-171. Washington D.C.: American Psychological Association.10.1037/10096-007Search in Google Scholar

Schegloff, Emanuel A. 1995a. Discourse as an interactional achievement III: The omnirelevance of action. Research on Language and Social Interaction 28 (3). 185-211.10.1207/s15327973rlsi2803_2Search in Google Scholar

Schegloff, Emanuel A. 1995b. Introduction. In Sacks, Harvey, Lectures on conversation vol. 1 (ed. by Gail Jefferson), ix-lxii. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing.Search in Google Scholar

Schegloff, Emanuel A. 1996a. Turn Organization: One intersection of grammar and interaction. In Ochs, Elinor, Emanuel A.10.1017/CBO9780511620874.002Search in Google Scholar

Schegloff, Sandra A. Thompson (eds.), Interaction and Grammar, 52-133. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Search in Google Scholar

Schegloff, Emanuel A. 1996b. Confirming allusions: Toward an empirical account of action. American Journal of Sociology 102 (1). 161-216.10.1086/230911Search in Google Scholar

Schegloff, Emanuel A. 1997. Practices and actions: Boundary cases of other-initiated repair. Discourse Processes 23. 499-545.10.1080/01638539709545001Search in Google Scholar

Schegloff, Emanuel A. 2005. On integrity in inquiry... of the investigated, not the investigator. Discourse Studies 7 (4-5).455-80.10.1177/1461445605054402Search in Google Scholar

Schegloff, Emanuel A. 2006. Interaction: The infrastructure for social institutions, the natural ecological niche for language, and the arena in which culture is enacted. In Enfield, Nick J., Stephen C. Levinson (eds.), Roots of human sociality: Culture, cognition and interaction, 70-96. Oxford: Berg Publishers (Bloomsbury).10.4324/9781003135517-4Search in Google Scholar

Schegloff, Emanuel A. 2007. Sequence organization in interaction: A primer in Conversation Analysis (Vol. 1). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.10.1017/CBO9780511791208Search in Google Scholar

Schegloff, Emanuel A. 2010. Commentary on Stivers and Rossano: “Mobilizing response”. Research on Language and Social Interaction 43 (1). 38-48.10.1080/08351810903471282Search in Google Scholar

Schegloff, Emanuel A., Harvey Sacks. 1973. Opening up closings. Semiotica 8 (4). 289-327.10.1515/semi.1973.8.4.289Search in Google Scholar

Schegloff, Emanuel A., Gail Jefferson, Harvey Sacks. 1977. The preference for self-correction and the organization of repair in conversation. Language 53. 361-382.10.1353/lan.1977.0041Search in Google Scholar

Schütz, Alfred. 1945. On multiple realities. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 5 (4). 533-576.10.2307/2102818Search in Google Scholar

Schütz, Alfred. 1962. Collected papers vol. 1 - The problem of social reality. The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers.Search in Google Scholar

Shaw, Chloe, Jonathan Potter, Alexa Hepburn. 2015. Advice-implicative actions: Using interrogatives and assessments to deliver advice in mundane conversation. Discourse Studies 17 (3). 317-342.10.1177/1461445615571199Search in Google Scholar

Sidnell, Jack. 2010. Conversation Analysis: An introduction. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.10.21832/9781847692849-020Search in Google Scholar

Sidnell, Jack. 2013. Basic conversation analytic methods. In Sidnell, Jack, Tanya Stivers (eds.), The Handbook of Conversation Analysis, 77-99. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.10.1002/9781118325001.ch5Search in Google Scholar

Sidnell, Jack. 2014. The architecture of intersubjectivity revisited. In Enfield, Nick J, Paul Kockelmann, Jack Sidnell (eds.), The Cambridge Handbook of Linguistic Anthropology, 364-399. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.10.1017/CBO9781139342872.018Search in Google Scholar

Sidnell, Jack, Tanya Stivers. 2013. The Handbook of Conversation Analysis. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.10.1002/9781118325001Search in Google Scholar

Sperber, Dan, Deirdre Wilson. 1986. Relevance: Communication and cognition. Oxford: Blackwell.Search in Google Scholar

Stivers, Tanya. 2005. Modified repeats: One method for asserting primary rights from second position. Research on Language and Social Interaction 38 (2). 131-158.10.1207/s15327973rlsi3802_1Search in Google Scholar

Stivers, Tanya, Lorenza Mondada, Jakob Steensig. 2011. Knowledge, morality and affiliation in social interaction. In Stivers, Tanya, Lorenza Mondada, Jakob Steensig (eds.), The morality of knowledge in conversation, 3-24. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.10.1017/CBO9780511921674.002Search in Google Scholar

Walker, Traci, Paul Drew, John Local. 2011. Responding indirectly. Journal of Pragmatics 43 (9). 2434-2451.10.1016/j.pragma.2011.02.012Search in Google Scholar

Wilkinson, Sue, Celia Kitzinger. 2006. Surprise as an interactional achievement: Reaction tokens in conversation. Social Psychology Quarterly 69 (2). 150-182.10.1177/019027250606900203Search in Google Scholar

Received: 2017-07-05
Accepted: 2017-12-20
Published Online: 2018-05-24

© 2018 Uwe-A. Küttner, published by De Gruyter Open

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 License.

Downloaded on 4.2.2023 from https://www.degruyter.com/document/doi/10.1515/opli-2018-0006/html
Scroll Up Arrow