Temporality and the Emergence of a Construction
A sluice (Ross 1969) is a wh-word that, in the standard syntactic view, refers to ellipted material in an antecedent clause. In the present study, based on conversational data, I view sluices from a temporal and interactional perspective in which grammatical constructions are seen as emergent in time rather than as fixed stable entities. I analyze the different timings of sluices in terms of their projective, retractive, preemptive and other functions. Pre-sluices are forward-oriented and work to block potential questions that might distract from a current or upcoming theme. Post-sluices are “retractions” (cf. Auer 2009) that close off a completed turn or a sequence of turns.