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Zeitschrift für Sprachwissenschaft

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Volume 32, Issue 1


Zur Grammatik des Verstehens im Gespräch: Inferenzen anzeigen und Handlungskonsequenzen ziehen mit also und dann

Arnulf Deppermann / Henrike Helmer
Published Online: 2013-05-29 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/zfs-2013-0001


The paper studies how the German connectives also and dann are used as displays of understanding in talk-in-interaction. It is shown that the use of also at turn-beginnings in pre-front-field position is a routine practice to explicate implicit meanings of the prior turn of the partner, which is presented for confirmation. Also thus indexes that explicated meanings are taken to be intersubjective, i.e. part of the interlocutors’ common ground. Turn-initial dann (in front-field position), in contrast, is routinely used to (a) index the formulation of a unilateral inference from the partner’s prior turn which is not claimed to have already been communicated by the partner, and is (b) used to preface different kinds of next actions which are framed as being a consequence from the preceding action of the partner. Drawing on data from four genres of talkin- interaction (conversation, psychotherapy, doctor-patient interaction, broadcasted talk shows), the paper discusses how functions of also and dann are related to their positions concerning turn-construction and topological fields, prosodic design, collocations, sequential structures and participation frameworks of the interaction.

Keywords: Interactional Linguistics; understanding; inference; connectives; conversation analysis

About the article

Published Online: 2013-05-29

Published in Print: 2013-05-28

Citation Information: Zeitschrift für Sprachwissenschaft, Volume 32, Issue 1, Pages 1–39, ISSN (Online) 1613-3706, ISSN (Print) 0721-9067, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/zfs-2013-0001.

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