Volume 1, Issue 2
  • ISSN 2666-4224
  • E-ISSN: 2666-4232



Schegloff (1996) has argued that grammars are “positionally-sensitive”, implying that the situated use and understanding of linguistic formats depends on their sequential position. Analyzing the German format (corresponding to English ) based on 82 instances from a large corpus of talk-in-interaction (FOLK), this paper shows how different action-ascriptions to turns using the same format depend on various orders of context. We show that not only sequential position, but also epistemic status, interactional histories, multimodal conduct, and linguistic devices co-occurring in the same turn are decisive for the action implemented by the format. The range of actions performed with and their close interpretive interrelationship suggest that they should not be viewed as a fixed inventory of context-dependent interpretations of the format. Rather, the format provides for a root-interpretation that can be adapted to local contextual contingencies, yielding situated action-ascriptions that depend on constraints created by contexts of use.

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