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6 - Two answers to inapposite inquiries

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 December 2009

Jack Sidnell
Affiliation:
University of Toronto
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Summary

Introduction

In recent years, one major focus of conversation analysis (CA) has been to investigate how knowledge is distributed and negotiated among participants in interaction. Research has demonstrated that for conversationalists what each of them knows and how they know it are accountable matters (Heritage 1984a, 1998; Drew 1991; Schegloff 1996b; Roth 2002; Heritage and Raymond 2005; Raymond and Heritage 2006; Stivers 2005; Clift 2006a, 2006b; Golato and Fagyal 2008). As is the case for most CA research, the majority of these studies have been based on the analysis of English data. However, as Schegloff (2006) argues, human beings as a species face the same problems and issues in everyday life independently of language or culture. As “the primary, fundamental embodiment of sociality” (Schegloff 2006: 70), interaction is designed to address these problems and issues, though the way in which this gets done varies across languages or cultures (cf. Schegloff 2002a). It thus stands to reason that practices parallel or analogous to those described for English exist in other languages. Once identified, such practices may provide a basis for cross-linguistic comparison – allowing us to see the way in which the local resources of a particular language are mobilized to solve generic problems of interaction.

In this chapter, I explore how Danish speakers orient to knowledge in interaction. Specifically, I identify two Danish practices, through which a recipient can index that a question is inapposite, because it inquires into something that should already be known to the questioner, and compare these with one previously described for English.

Type
Chapter
Information
Conversation Analysis
Comparative Perspectives
, pp. 159 - 186
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2009

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