Volume 2, Issue 2
  • ISSN 2666-4224
  • E-ISSN: 2666-4232
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes



In this paper we aim to determine whether temporal clauses can be shown to be insubordinate in everyday American English interaction. In order to investigate grammatical insubordination in conversation, we operationalize the notion of ‘insubordination’ as a specific practice for designing a turn-at-talk and implementing a social action. That is, we treat as ‘insubordinate’ a clause with a grammatically subordinate form that (a) is freestanding, that is, forms a prosodic unit of its own, (b) implements a discrete social action in its sequential context, and (c) has an independent interpretation, that is, is interpretable and actionable in the absence of a main clause. We then examine five different types of freestanding temporal clauses in conversation which might be considered candidate insubordinate uses. Our data show that in some cases both criteria (b) and (c) are lacking, while in others it is criterion (c) that is absent. In none of these cases are all three criteria satisfied at once. We conclude that temporal clauses do not exhibit insubordination in English conversation as do other adverbial clauses such as those with ’if’.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Auer, P.
    (2014) Syntactic structures and their symbiotic guests: Notes on analepsis from the perspective of on-line syntax. Pragmatics, 24(3), 533–560.
    [Google Scholar]
  2. (2015) The temporality of language in interaction: Projection and latency. InA. Deppermann & S. Günthner (Eds.), Temporality in Interaction (pp.27–56). Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 10.1075/slsi.27.01aue
    https://doi.org/10.1075/slsi.27.01aue [Google Scholar]
  3. Benzitoun, C.
    (2006) Examen de la notion de subordination. Le cas des quand insubordonnés. Faits de langues, 281, 35–47. 10.1163/19589514‑028‑01‑900000005
    https://doi.org/10.1163/19589514-028-01-900000005 [Google Scholar]
  4. Couper-Kuhlen, E.
    (1988) On the temporal interpretation of postposed when-clauses in narrative discourse. InR. Matthews & J. Schmole-Rostosky (Eds.), Papers on Language and Medieval Studies (pp.353–372). Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang.
    [Google Scholar]
  5. (1996) Intonation and clause combining in discourse: The case of because. Pragmatics, 6(3), 389–426.
    [Google Scholar]
  6. Couper-Kuhlen, E. & Barth-Weingarten, D.
    (2011) A system for transcribing talk-in-interaction: GAT 2. English translation and adaptation of Selting, Margret et al: Gesprächsanalytisches Transkriptionssystem 2. Gesprächsforschung Online, 121, 1–51.
    [Google Scholar]
  7. Couper-Kuhlen, E. & Ono, T.
    (2007) ‘Incrementing‘ in conversation. A comparison of practices in English, German and Japanese. Pragmatics, 17(4), 513–552.
    [Google Scholar]
  8. Diessel, H.
    (2004) The Acquisition of Complex Syntax. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 10.1017/CBO9780511486531
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511486531 [Google Scholar]
  9. Dwyer, A. M.
    (2016) Ordinary insubordination as transient discourse. InN. Evans & H. Watanabe (Eds.), Insubordination (pp.183–208). Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 10.1075/tsl.115.08dwy
    https://doi.org/10.1075/tsl.115.08dwy [Google Scholar]
  10. Evans, N.
    (2007) Insubordination and its uses. InI. Nikolaeva (Ed.), Finiteness: Theoretical and empirical foundations (pp.366–431). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  11. Evans, N. & Watanabe, H.
    (2016) The dynamics of insubordination. InN. Evans & H. Watanabe (Eds.), Insubordination (pp.1–37). Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 10.1075/tsl.115.01eva
    https://doi.org/10.1075/tsl.115.01eva [Google Scholar]
  12. Fox, B. A. and Thompson, S. A.
    (2010) Responses to wh-questions in English conversation. Research on Language and Social Interaction, 43(2), 133–156. 10.1080/08351811003751680
    https://doi.org/10.1080/08351811003751680 [Google Scholar]
  13. Günthner, S.
    (2020) Practices of clause-combining: From complex wenn-constructions to insubordinate (‘stand-alone’) conditionals in everyday spoken German. InY. Maschler, S. Pekarek Doehler, J. Lindström & L. Keevallik (Eds.), Emergent Syntax for Conversation. Clausal patterns and the organization of action (pp.185–220). Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 10.1075/slsi.32.07gun
    https://doi.org/10.1075/slsi.32.07gun [Google Scholar]
  14. Hamann, C.
    (1989) English temporal clauses in a reference frame model. InA. Schopf (Ed.), Essays on Tensing in English (pp.31–154). Tübingen: Max Niemeyer. 10.1515/9783111355207.31
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783111355207.31 [Google Scholar]
  15. Hilpert, M.
    (2015) Kollaborative Insubordination in gesprochenem Englisch: Konstruktion oder Umgang mit Konstruktionen?InA. Ziem & A. Lasch (Eds.), Konstruktionsgrammatik IV. Konstruktionen als soziale Konventionen und kognitive Routinen (pp.25–40). Tübingen: Stauffenburg.
    [Google Scholar]
  16. Kaltenböck, G.
    (2019) Delimiting the class: A typology of English insubordination. InK. Beijering, G. Kaltenböck & M. S. Sansinena (Eds.), Insubordination: Theoretical and empirical issues (pp.167–198). Berlin: de Gruyter. 10.1515/9783110638288‑006
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110638288-006 [Google Scholar]
  17. Koivisto, A., R. Laury, & E-L. Seppanen
    (2011) Syntactic and actional characteristics of Finnish etta-clauses. InR. Laury & R. Suzuki (Eds.), Subordination in Conversation: A cross-linguistic perspective (pp.69–102). Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 10.1075/slsi.24.05koi
    https://doi.org/10.1075/slsi.24.05koi [Google Scholar]
  18. Laury, R.
    (2012) Syntactically non-integrated Finnish ‘jos’ (if)-conditional clauses as directives. Discourse Processes, 491, 213–242. 10.1080/0163853X.2012.664758
    https://doi.org/10.1080/0163853X.2012.664758 [Google Scholar]
  19. Lerner, G. H.
    (1996) On the “semi-permeable” character of grammatical units in conversation: Conditional entry into the turn space of another speaker. InE. Ochs, E. A. Schegloff & S. A. Thompson (Eds.), Interaction and Grammar (pp.238–276). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 10.1017/CBO9780511620874.005
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511620874.005 [Google Scholar]
  20. (2004) On the place of linguistic resources in the organization of talk-in-interaction: Grammar as action in prompting a speaker to elaborate. Research on Language and Social Interaction, 37(2), 151–184. 10.1207/s15327973rlsi3702_3
    https://doi.org/10.1207/s15327973rlsi3702_3 [Google Scholar]
  21. Lindström, J., Laury, R. & Lindholm, C.
    (2019) Insubordination and the contextually sensitive emergence of if-requests in Swedish and Finnish institutional talk-in-interaction. InK. Beijering, G. Kaltenböck & M. Sol Sansiñena (Eds.), Insubordination: Theoretical and empirical issues (pp.55–78). Berlin: de Gruyter. 10.1515/9783110638288‑003
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110638288-003 [Google Scholar]
  22. Lindström, J., Lindholm, C. & Laury, R.
    (2016) The interactional emergence of conditional clauses as directives: constructions, trajectories and sequences of action. Language Sciences, 581, 8–21. 10.1016/j.langsci.2016.02.008
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.langsci.2016.02.008 [Google Scholar]
  23. Local, J. & Kelly, J.
    (1986) Projection and ‘silences’: Notes on phonetic and conversational structure. Human Studies, 91, 185–204. 10.1007/BF00148126
    https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00148126 [Google Scholar]
  24. Maschler, Y.
    (2020) The insubordinate-subordinate continuum. Prosody, embodied action, and the emergence of Hebrew complex syntax. InY. Maschler, S. Pekarek Doehler, J. Lindström & L. Keevallik (Eds.), Emergent Syntax for Conversation. Clausal patterns and the organization of action (pp.87–125). Amsterdam, John Benjamins. 10.1075/slsi.32.04mas
    https://doi.org/10.1075/slsi.32.04mas [Google Scholar]
  25. Ono, T., Thompson, S. A. & Sasaki, Y.
    (2012) Japanese negotiation through emerging final particles in everyday talk. Discourse Processes, 49(3–4), 243–272. 10.1080/0163853X.2012.664759
    https://doi.org/10.1080/0163853X.2012.664759 [Google Scholar]
  26. Raymond, C. W. & White, A. E. C.
    (2017) Time reference in the service of social action. Social Psychology Quarterly, 80(2), 109–131. 10.1177/0190272516689468
    https://doi.org/10.1177/0190272516689468 [Google Scholar]
  27. (2022) On the recognitionality of references to time in social interaction. Language & Communication, 831, 1–15. 10.1016/j.langcom.2021.11.001
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.langcom.2021.11.001 [Google Scholar]
  28. Schegloff, E. A.
    (1997) Practices and actions: Boundary cases of other-initiated repair. Discourse Processes, 231, 499–545. 10.1080/01638539709545001
    https://doi.org/10.1080/01638539709545001 [Google Scholar]
  29. (2001) Conversation Analysis: A Project in Process – “Increments”. Forum Lecture, Linguistic Society of America Linguistics Institute, University of California Santa Barbara.
    [Google Scholar]
  30. (2007) Sequence Organization in Interaction: A Primer in Conversation Analysis, Vol.11. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 10.1017/CBO9780511791208
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511791208 [Google Scholar]
  31. (2016) Increments. InJ. D. Robinson (Ed.), Accountability in Social Interaction (pp.239–263). Oxford: Oxford University Press. 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190210557.003.0008
    https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190210557.003.0008 [Google Scholar]
  32. Seppänen, E.-L. & Laury, R.
    (2007) Complement clauses as turn continuations: The Finnish et(tä)-clause. Pragmatics, 17(4), 553–572.
    [Google Scholar]
  33. Sidnell, J.
    (2012) Turn-continuation by self and by other. Discourse Processes, 49(3–4), 314–337. 10.1080/0163853X.2012.654760
    https://doi.org/10.1080/0163853X.2012.654760 [Google Scholar]
  34. Schwenter, S.
    (2016) Meaning and interaction in Spanish independent si-clauses. Language Sciences, 581, 22–34. 10.1016/j.langsci.2016.04.007
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.langsci.2016.04.007 [Google Scholar]
  35. Sorjonen, M.-L., Peräkylä, A., Laury, R. & Lindström, J.
    (2021) Intersubjectivity in action: An introduction. InJ. Lindström, R. Laury, A. Peräkylä, M.-L. Sorjonen (Eds.), Intersubjectivity in Action: Studies in language and social interaction (pp.1–22). Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 10.1075/pbns.326.01sor
    https://doi.org/10.1075/pbns.326.01sor [Google Scholar]
  36. Stivers, T. & Hayashi, M.
    (2010) Transformative answers: One way to resist a question’s constraints. Language in Society, 391, 1–25. 10.1017/S0047404509990637
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0047404509990637 [Google Scholar]
  37. Thompson, S. A., Longacre, R. & Hwang, S.
    (2007) Adverbial clauses. InT. Shopen (Ed.), Language Typology and Syntactic Description, Volume II: Complex constructions, Second edition (pp.237–300). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 10.1017/CBO9780511619434.005
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511619434.005 [Google Scholar]
  38. Thompson, S. A. & Suzuki, R.
    (2011) The grammaticalization of final particles. InH. Narrog & B. Heine (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Grammaticalization (pp.668–682). Oxford: Oxford University Press. 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199586783.013.0055
    https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199586783.013.0055 [Google Scholar]
  39. Walker, G.
    (2004) On some interactional and phonetic properties of increments to turns in talk-in-interaction. InE. Couper-Kuhlen & C. E. Ford (Eds.), Sound Patterns in Interaction: Cross-linguistic Studies from Conversation (pp.147–169). Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 10.1075/tsl.62.10wal
    https://doi.org/10.1075/tsl.62.10wal [Google Scholar]

Data & Media loading...

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error