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Text & Talk

An Interdisciplinary Journal of Language, Discourse & Communication Studies

Ed. by Sarangi, Srikant

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Volume 28, Issue 6 (Jan 2008)


Stance and affect in conversation: On the interplay of sequential and phonetic resources

John Local
  • Corresponding author
  • John Local is Professor of Phonetics and Linguistics in the Department of Language and Linguistic Science at the University of York (UK).
/ Gareth Walker
  • Gareth Walker is Lecturer in Linguistics in the School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics at the University of Sheffield.
Published Online: 2008-12-01 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/TEXT.2008.037


Linguists, and other analysts of discourse, regularly make appeal to affectual states in determining the meaning of utterances. We examine two kinds of sequence that occur in everyday conversation. The first involves one participant making an explicit lexical formulation of a co-participant's affectual state (e.g., ‘you sound happy’, ‘don't sound so depressed’). The second involves responses to ‘positive informings’ and ‘negative informings’. Through consideration of sequential organization, participant orientation, and phonetic detail, we suggest that the attribution of analytic categories of affect is problematic. We argue that phonetic characteristics which might be thought to be associated with affect may better be accounted for with reference to the management of particular sequential-interactional tasks. The finding that stance does not inhere in any single turn at talk or any single linguistic aspect leads us to suggest that future investigations into stance and affect will need to pay attention simultaneously to matters of both linguistic-phonetic and sequential organization.

Keywords:: stance; affect; conversation; sequence; phonetics; intonation

About the article

Department of Language and Linguistic Science, University of York, Heslington, York, YO10 5DD, UK 〈

Published Online: 2008-12-01

Published in Print: 2008-11-01

Citation Information: Text & Talk - An Interdisciplinary Journal of Language, Discourse Communication Studies, ISSN (Online) 1860-7349, ISSN (Print) 1860-7330, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/TEXT.2008.037. Export Citation

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