Abstract for Some Sources of Misunderstanding in Talk-in-Interaction

Emanuel A. Schegloff:  "Some Sources of 
Misunderstanding in Talk-in-Interaction," 
Linguistics, 25 (1987), 201-218.

Efforts to understand 'misunderstanding' in 
talk-in-interaction should be able to specify 
how interactionally exogenous factors such as 
cultural/linguistic/social differences induce 
trouble in interactionally endogenous terms. As
a byproduct of a systematic study of repair in 
conversation, a number of systematic sources of 
misunderstanding can be explicated in terms of
categories endogenous to the organization of 
talk-in-interaction. Two classes of trouble are 
examined - problematic reference and problematic
sequential implicativeness. Four sources of the 
latter type of trouble are discussed - the 
serious/non-serious distinction, favored action 
interpretations, the constructive/composite 
distinction in the understanding of utterances,
and the practice of 'joke-first'. Although germane
to an understanding of the mechanisms of 
'misunderstanding', the substantial independence
of the organization of repair from the sources of 
trouble has the import that these mechanisms have
at most an indirect bearing on repair itself.

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