This study draws on video recordings of interactions between volunteers and evacuees from the areas affected by the March 2011 nuclear power plant explosions in Japan’s Fukushima prefecture. This article has two purposes. The first is to provide a conversation analytic description of a set of interactional practices: displacing responses from their unmarked status as responses to immediately preceding turn-at-talk. The second is to explicate the ways in which the volunteers use the practices in post-disaster communication to address difficulties in affiliating with evacuees who are assumed to have had distressful experiences. The practices, with the Japanese word demo (‘but’) deployed at the turn-beginning position, propose that participants selectively focus on one aspect of the ongoing talk. The volunteers use them to accomplish “being a listener” appropriately in their interactions with the evacuees.
Funding statement: This research was supported by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (grant number 23530627).
I am grateful to Dom Berducci, Kaoru Hayano, Satomi Kuroshima and Lorenza Mondada for their valuable and helpful comments on earlier versions of this article.
Appendix. Transcription conventions
The first tier of each utterance in the excerpts employs the transcription system developed by Jefferson (2004). It uses the following transcription conventions:
A left bracket divided across two lines indicates the point of overlap onset.
A right bracket divided across two lines indicates the point of overlap termination.
Equal signs indicate no break or gap. They may indicate that one continuous utterance is divided across two lines by an intervening line.
Numbers in parentheses indicate periods of silence by tenths of a second.
A dot in parentheses indicates a brief interval.
Colons indicate prolongation of the immediately preceding sound.
Underlining indicates stress or emphasis.
Up or down arrows indicate shifts into high or low pitch.
Punctuation marks indicate falling or rising intonations.
Upper case indicates loud sound.
Degree signs indicate that the sound of the material between them is soft.
A hyphen indicates a cut-off.
Inequality signs indicate the speeded-up or slowed-down production of an utterance.
A row of h’s indicates an outbreath. Preceded by a period, it indicates an inbreath.
A parenthesized h indicates that the immediately preceding sound has the quality of laughter
Pound-sterling signs indicate that the material between them has the quality of smile.
Empty parentheses indicate inaudible utterances.
Parenthesized words indicate an uncertainty of what was heard.
Doubled parentheses contain the transcriber’s comments.
Right arrows indicate targeted turns.
An asterisk following a vowel indicates that the vowel only approximately reflects the actual sound.
In the second tier glosses, the following abbreviations are used:
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