Units and/or Action Trajectories?

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Responding to Sacks et al.’s 1974 call for linguists to join in the study of resources for turn construction, the authors of this chapter long ago took on turn formulation as an issue which linguists must account for. In this chapter, we return to this aspect of CA’s charge to linguists, noting that CA continues to borrow the meta-language of linguistic unit types which are based in a tradition that does not address the practices of humans in real-time and contingent social action. We experiment in grounding accounts of turn construction in action rather than linguistic-category types, offering two detailed analyses of utterances that emerge in ordinary interaction, avoiding dependence on linguistic categories. In line with longstanding trends in CA, we experiment in moving further toward a descriptive meta-language for turn construction based in the particulars of moments of naturally occurring interaction, with attention to vocal and embodied conduct of the multiple copresent participants.


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