Turn continuation in cross-linguistic perspective
  • ISSN 1018-2101
  • E-ISSN: 2406-4238


This cross-linguistic study focuses on ways in which conversationalists speak beyond a point of possible turn completion in conversation, specifically on turn extensions which are grammatically dependent, backward-looking and extend the prior action. It argues that further distinctions can be made in terms of whether the extension is prosodically integrated with the prior unit, its host, () or not, and in terms of whether it repairs some part of the host () or not. Added-on, non-repairing extensions are further distinguished in terms of whether they are grammatically fitted to the end of the host () or not (). A preliminary survey of TCU continuation in English, German and Japanese conversation reveals a number of significant differences with respect to frequency and range of extension type. English is at one extreme in preferring Glue-ons over Non-Add-ons and Insertables, whereas Japanese is at the other extreme in preferring Non-add-ons and Insertables over Glue-ons. German occupies an intermediary position but is on the whole more like Japanese. The preference for Glue-ons vs. Insertables appears to reflect a language’s tendency towards syntactic left- vs. right headedness. In conclusion the study argues for a classification of ‘increment’ types which goes beyond the English-based Glue-on, attributes a central role to prosodic delivery and adopts a usage-based understanding of word order.


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