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.

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