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Overlapping reactions during tag questions

Kimps, Ditte and O'Grady, Gerard ORCID: 2022. Overlapping reactions during tag questions. Word 68 (3) , pp. 253-276. 10.1080/00437956.2021.2003539
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This article examines the form and the functions of what we label overlapping reactions. These are premature responses which overlap utterances containing a variable interrogative tag, e.g., It’s nice, isn’t it. They are orientated towards the proposition contained in the tag question. Our research is grounded in a corpus of spoken British English and, employs methods and insights from corpus linguistics, conversation analysis and phonetics. Based on the clustering of observed grammatical, discoursal and prosodic features we propose a typology of the interactional functions of overlapping responses, i.e., acknowledgements, continuers, disagreements, non-committals and turn-competitive early responses. We show that such responses are not errors but rather function as part of the well-oiled machinery of spontaneous dialogue. We show that the typology of overlaps proposed by Jefferson ([1983]. “Two Explorations of the Organization of Overlapping Talk in Conversation.” Language and Literature 28: 1–33) is unable to fully distinguish between the functional categories identified in our data. Hence we suggest that a taxonomy of overlaps must be based on the patterning of formal and functional features. Our data provide evidence that tag questions are responded to a syntagmatic wholes rather than as a sequence of two parts: anchor and tag.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: English, Communication and Philosophy
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
ISSN: 0043-7956
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 4 November 2021
Date of Acceptance: 4 November 2021
Last Modified: 26 Oct 2022 05:04

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