When Listeners Talk: Response Tokens and Listener Stance
Listeners are usually considered recipients in conversational interaction, whose main activity is to take in messages from other speakers. In this view, the listening activity is separate from speaking. Another view is that listeners and speakers are equal co-participants in conversations who construct the talk together. In support of this latter view, one finds a group of vocalisations which are quintessentially listener talk little conversational objects such as uh-huh, oh, mm, yeah, right and mm-hm. These utterances do not have meanings in a conventional dictionary sense, but are nevertheless loaded with complex and subtle information about the stance listeners take to what they are hearing, information that is gleaned not only from their phonetic form, but also from their complex prosodic shape and their placement and timing within the flow of talk. This book summarises eight of these objects, and explores one, mm, in depth.
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acknowledgement token alignment Alright Ann’s appears assessment Australian data Chapter characterisation continuer conversation conversation analysis creaky voice data set degustatory diVerent diYcult environment eVect example falling contour falling Mm falling Mms fragment glissando godda grammatical heightened involvement hesitation marker high pitch hm and Uh huh huh huh identiWed intonation contour intonation unit JeVerson kno:w lapse terminator line 11 low pitch Mal’s Marilyn minimal responses Mm hm Mm in line multi-unit turn neutral newsmarkers occurs Okay oriented pitch reset position pragmatic completion prior turn prosodic question repair initiator response tokens rise-falling Mm rising terminal Ron’s Sally’s SchegloV sequence signiWcant silence speaker talk substantial same speaker talk that follows terminal contour terminal pitch direction th’t topic turn at talk turn constructional unit typically Uh huh utterance whilst Wnal wo:rk Wrst Xoor y’know Yea:h