Abstract for Reflections on Studying Prosody in Talk-in-Interaction
Emanuel A. Schegloff: "Reflections on
Studying Prosody in Talk-in-Interaction,"
Language and Speech, 41:3/4, 1998, 235-63.
Rather than focusing on conversation as one
context among many in which to study prosody, this
paper approaches prosody as one set of resources
and conversation practices among many by which
participants interactively produce conversation
and other talk-in-interaction. Three episodes of
conversation are examined, each exemplifying a
different order of organization in which
prosodic practices may be implicated. The first
develops various lines of evidence to show that
pitch peaks may be deployed and understood as
projecting that a next syntactic possible
completion is the designed end of the turn. In the
second, the initial turns in the opening of a
telephone conversation are examined as the site in
which the participants work out the pitch level at
which the conversation - or at least its first
part - will be conducted, and thereby "negotiate"
the tenor of the conversation's launching. The
third episode focuses on the central part which
prosody can play in the constitution of the action
which an utterance is implementing. The paper
closes with some reflections on what is needed for
students of conversation in dealing with prosody -
focusing especially on the need for a relevant way
of describing the mediating operations which take
the prosody as (partial) input and yield the
action (or other conversational feature) being
accomplished as outcome.