Journal of Interactional Research in Communication Disorders, Vol 8, No 1 (2017)

Functions of sequential placement: Conversational co-construction of a single nonverbal contribution

Tobias A. Kroll, Ben Rutter, Judith D. Oxley
Issued Date: 1 Feb 2017


This study examines how a nearly nonverbal, prelingually deaf young man and his speech-language clinician co-construct a conversation using the client’s nonconventional contributions. It is shown how conversation is made possible through variations in the sequential placement of a single contribution by the client, a nasal sound construed as serving four distinct conversational functions: as a continuer; as a token of turn-constructional and topical completion; as an incomprehension token and signal for lack of verbal resources; and as a comprehension token. These functions are based on variations the sequential placement of the nasal and the differential treatment it receives by the interlocutors as a consequence. Results indicate that unconventional conversational contributions may be untypical in their form but typical in their function; that they may have subtly different functions when compared to their conventional cognates; or that they may have functions not found in typical talk.

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DOI: 10.1558/jircd.32014


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