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Text & Talk

An Interdisciplinary Journal of Language, Discourse & Communication Studies

Ed. by Sarangi, Srikant

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Volume 35, Issue 6


You said that?”: Other-initiations of repair addressed to represented talk

Gabriele Kasper
  • Department of Second Language Studies, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, 1890 East-West Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA
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/ Matthew T. Prior
Published Online: 2015-11-28 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/text-2015-0024


This paper examines a topic that has not gained much analytic attention in research on represented talk: how recipients respond, and how their responses shape the ongoing interaction. Using conversation analysis, we investigate responses to represented talk in complaint stories told in autobiographical interviews. Supportive recipient actions are the most common, but on occasion the recipient other-initiates repair on the quoted talk. These other-initiations of repair are done as candidate understandings, formatted as positive declarative questions, and regularly locate the specific trouble source in the represented talk through prosodic emphasis. In some instances, they do no more than seeking confirmation of the story recipient’s uncertain understanding, but often, the other-initiations of repair are produced or understood as questioning the acceptability of the represented talk. For the most part tellers reaffirm, defend, and reinforce their claim that the talk happened as previously portrayed. By rejecting the recipient’s challenge, the tellers show that they expect a more empathetic stance from the story recipient. Finally, we consider what the participants may accomplish with the observed practices in the autobiographic interview as an institutional activity.

Keywords: represented talk and thought; reported speech; candidate understandings; other-initiations of repair; complaint stories; interviews


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About the article

Gabriele Kasper

Gabriele Kasper is professor of second language studies at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. Her teaching and research are concerned with language and social interaction in multilingual settings, the social side of cognition, emotion and learning, and qualitative research methodology.

Matthew T. Prior

Matthew T. Prior is an assistant professor in Applied Linguistics/TESOL in the Department of English at Arizona State University. His interests include narrative and discursive-constructionist approaches to emotion, multilingualism, and identity. His recent monograph is Emotion and Discourse in L2 Narrative Research (2016, Multilingual Matters).

Published Online: 2015-11-28

Published in Print: 2015-12-01

Citation Information: Text & Talk, Volume 35, Issue 6, Pages 815–844, ISSN (Online) 1860-7349, ISSN (Print) 1860-7330, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/text-2015-0024.

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