February 21, 2003

Workshop Description

In recent years, conversation analysts have begun working in conjunction with functional linguistics to investigate the relationship between grammar and social interaction. Working on data from both mundane conversation and talk in institutional settings, researchers have been stressing, on the one hand, that grammar provides a set of resources which shapes the way participants organize their social actions and, on the other hand, that interaction can exert an influence on the composition of grammar. The main purpose of this workshop is to further explore the grammar-interaction interface using data taken from interaction occurring in Japanese.

The workshop will feature the presentation of sets of Japanese data by three researchers with backgrounds in linguistics. Tomoyo Takagi will present data that centers on interaction involving children. In particular, she will focus on the children's use of the term 'anone', describing how it is intricately employed by children to manage turn-taking and also discussing the questions her data raise concerning the relationship between the form and function of a linguistic item. Yuri Hosoda will concentrate on the use of 'are' in casual Japanese conversation. Her description will be especially concerned with the role that 'are' plays in allowing participants to organize turns at talk as well as its relationship to the syntax of the Japanese language. Scott Saft will consider institutional talk, more specifically, an episode of interaction occurring in a mental hospital involving a mental patient, her daughter, and her doctor. Focusing on how the mental patient used not only grammar but also the identities of her interlocutors as resources to maintain control of the topic of the talk, he will suggest that research on grammar and interaction needs to give more consideration to the identities of the participants.

Each presenter will describe her/his data for approximately 25 minutes. Following description of the data, the floor will be opened to the audience for questions and comments concerning the data. In addition, two discussants, Dom Berducci and Aug Nishizaka, will provide commentary on the data. In contrast to the three presenters, the discussants have backgrounds in the fields of philosophy and sociology, respectively. Through the collaboration of the five participants as well as the active participation of the audience, the workshop intends to provide a lively forum for the exchange of ideas about the data and the topic of grammar and interaction.

While the five participants in the workshops have various theoretical backgrounds, it should be stressed that they all have been actively working within the field of conversation analysis (CA). By focusing on a topic that has been a recent focus within CA, one overarching goal of the workshop is to further emphasize the potential of CA for enhancing our understanding of the structures and practices involved in the construction of social interaction.

Description of the Data Presentations

Japanese children's turn-initial se of 'an(o)ne(:)'
Tomoyo Takagi (Keio University)

Producing turns-at-talk at least involves, at a place where turn-talking is relevant (i.e. transition-relevance place; TRP), producing a meaningful spate of talk that recognizably constitutes a turn (i.e. turn constructional unit; TCU ). However, this can be challenging for a child who is still in the process of acquiring 'adult grammar'.

In this presentation I would like to focus on children's use of 'an(o)ne(:)' produced prior to some stretch of talk. 'Anone' has been generally described as an attention-getting device. However, describing use of this form as attention-getting does not fully capture the children's intricate management of turn-taking in spite of their limited access to linguistic resources. It will be shown that 'an(o)ne(:)' in children's talk has properties of 1)a non-specific pre-telling which, in terms of interactional relevance, obligates the co-participant who acknowledges it to listen further AND the producer to talk further, and 2) repeatability--it can be recycled to solicit the recipient's deferred acknowledgement, which eventually generates the situation described in 1). Furthermore, I will examine some deviant cases including the turns preceded by 'an(o)ne(:)' that are produced in non-sequence-initial position, namely, after the co-participant's questioning turn--not congruous with its pre-telling character. I hope to show that the deployment of the 'an(o)ne(:)' preface in such a sequential position allows the child to take the turn for which an answering action is relevant, hence securing the recipient's continued engagement in the ongoing interaction, while producing talk not closely tied to the preceding question.

Through the analysis of the cases including deviant ones presented in my talk, it is questioned whether it is beneficial or even possible to presuppose a function (or functions) of a linguistic form without referring to its position in a turn and sequence, and interactional contingencies at the moment. Another relevant issue concerns the possible theoretical/methodological implications for developmental studies: what is suggested by the fact that the young children in my data seem to have already developed the interactional ability to orient to constructing a spate of talk into a recognizable TCU BEFORE acquiring 'adult grammar'?

Use of "are" and its relationship to turn organization and syntax
Yuri Hosoda (Showa Women's University)

In this presentation, I will discuss use of "are" in Japanese, which is grammatically categorized as a demonstrative pronoun, to delay or displace the production of the next due item. I will expand the analysis with data from the research on interactional use of "are" (Fox, Hayashi, & Jasperson, 1996; Kitano, 1999; Hayashi, 2000) and examine its relationship to turn organization and syntax in conversation. The data analyzed for this study come from 15 sets of casual conversation between native speakers in Japanese. In looking at the data with the workshop participants, the following points will be proposed in the presentation. First, it will be shown that the interactional use of "are" in the data was used either to delay or displace the production of the next item due. Second, I will show that except when "are" is used as a hesitation marker, the interactional usage of "are" enables the participants to project how the turn is going to be designed and what is being talked about by adding more syntactic information such as a case particle, a final particle, a predicate, and the like, and in many cases, bringing the TCU to syntactic completion. Third, by inserting "are" in this manner, the speaker is able to convey not only the syntactic information but also the speaker's stance toward the information before stating the referent. Finally, I will propose that by employing "are", the speaker is able to manage word-search type of problems in speaking without stopping the talk for repair or manage interactional contingencies of turn production in view of the action being done through the turn.

From grammar and interaction to grammar, interaction, and identity: An analysis of an episode of talk in a Japanese mental hospital
Scott Saft (University of Tsukuba)

Working in collaboration with functional linguists, conversation analysts have become increasingly interested in the relationship between grammar and social interaction. Focusing on both casual conversation and talk in institutional settings, analysts have been recasting grammar as a set of resources deployed to construct turns and accomplish social actions.

Through an analysis of an interactional episode involving a mental patient, her doctor, and her daughter, this study builds on prior research by showing how the mental patient uses grammatical resources, particularly interrogatives, to prompt the doctor to answer questions about her physical maladies and thereby keep the focus of the interaction away from her mental problems. However, the analysis also finds that the mental patient routinely employs non-interrogative utterances that have the same effect as questions, namely, they prompt the doctor to speak to her physical problems. In constructing these non-interrogative utterances, the analysis suggests that, in addition to grammar, the mental patient also makes use of the identities of her interlocutors as resources for maintaining control over the topic of the talk. Understanding of the organization of the interaction, in other words, requires examination of the relationship not only between grammar and interaction but also among grammar, interaction and identity.