A Preliminary study of same-turn self-repair initiation in Wichita conversation
The main goal of this study is to explore some of the phonetic, morphological, and syntactic resources of same-turn self-repair initiation that are available to speakers of Wichita, an indigenous North American language from the Caddoan family. A 28-minute natural conversation between three Wichita speakers is coded and analyzed within a conversation analytic approach. Within this approach the study focuses on <i>same-turn self-repair</i>, a subtype of natural conversational repair process in which an emerging utterance is stopped by the current speaker in some way and is then aborted, recast, continued, or redone by the speaker within the same turn.Wichita is a polysynthetic language with complex morphology and morphophonemic alternations that accompany the formation of phrases and sentences (Rood 1976, 1996). Conversational analysis research in Wichita – and in structurally similar languages in general – is at a very early stage. This pioneering study thus focuses on a form-based analysis that illuminates the possible means for self-repair initiation in Wichita conversation, as well as giving insight into some of the phonetic and prosodic aspects that accompany the self-repair initiations. The study also touches on a few fundamental morphosyntactic issues by considering the nodes within complex Wichita “words” where self-repairs are generated.<br />This detailed form-based analysis yields some interesting conclusions about morphosyntactic constraints on self-repair in a polysynthetic language. In particular, the study uncovers what the relationship between conversational repair, syntax, and morphology is and how these facets of interaction and grammar are interdependent (Schegloff 1979). Furthermore, the results of the study help enrich our general understanding of the function of self-repair in conversational interaction, either in terms of the types of variations that we can expect cross-linguistically or in terms of the generalizations that we can make about natural discourse structure. The discussion at the end of the paper sketches how some of the findings are, or are not, compatible with general results from previous work on same-turn self-repair as outlined by Schegloff, Jefferson, and Sacks (1977) and Jasperson (1998, 2002).