Other-initiated repair in English

Kobin H. Kendrick 1
  • 1 Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, P.O. Box 310, 6500 AH Nijmegen, The Netherlands


The practices of other-initiation of repair provide speakers with a set of solutions to one of the most basic problems in conversation: troubles of speaking, hearing, and understanding. Based on a collection of 227 cases systematically identified in a corpus of English conversation, this article describes the formats and practices of other-initiations of repair attested in the corpus and reports their quantitative distribution. In addition to straight other-initiations of repair, the identification of all possible cases also yielded a substantial proportion in which speakers use other-initiations to perform other actions, including non-serious actions, such as jokes and teases, preliminaries to dispreferred responses, and displays of surprise and disbelief. A distinction is made between otherinitiations that perform additional actions concurrently and those that formally resemble straight other-initiations but analyzably do not initiate repair as an action.

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