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Other-initiated repair in Yélî Dnye: Seeing eye-to-eye in the language of Rossel Island

Stephen C. Levinson
Published Online: 2015-06-24 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opli-2015-0009


Other-initiated repair (OIR) is the fundamental back-up system that ensures the effectiveness of human communication in its primordial niche, conversation. This article describes the interactional and linguistic patterns involved in other-initiated repair in Yélî Dnye, the Papuan language of Rossel Island, Papua New Guinea. The structure of the article is based on the conceptual set of distinctions described in Chapters 1 and 2 of the special issue, and describes the major properties of the Rossel Island system, and the ways in which OIR in this language both conforms to familiar European patterns and deviates from those patterns. Rossel Island specialities include lack of a Wh-word open class repair initiator, and a heavy reliance on visual signals that makes it possible both to initiate repair and confirm it non-verbally. But the overall system conforms to universal expectations.

Keywords: other-initiated repair; conversation analysis; visual signals


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About the article

Received: 2014-09-29

Accepted: 2015-04-10

Published Online: 2015-06-24

Citation Information: Open Linguistics, Volume 1, Issue 1, ISSN (Online) 2300-9969, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opli-2015-0009.

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© 2015 Stephen C. Levinson. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License. BY-NC-ND 3.0

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