December 5, 2019
5:00pm to 6:30pm
Haines A24

The Conversation Analysis Working Group invites you to join us next week for:

Dr. Jan David Hauck (Department of Anthropology, LSE, UK)“Let’s Eat (Together)!” Grammatical and Interactional Resources for the Calibration of Benefactive Stance in Aché Children’s Food Requests"

As part of ongoing efforts at specifying conditions for the production of first actions, Clayman and Heritage (2014) have called for attention to the benefactive dimension of requests and offers. Future-action-proposing turns are constructed with reference to agent and recipient of the action, their respective interests, and costs and benefits involved, in relation to the underlying benefactive status of both participants.


In this paper I explore how indigenous Aché children calibrate benefactive stance in everyday food requests. Small-scale societies, particularly hunter-gatherers such as the Aché, have long been of interest to anthropologists for the study of cooperation and sharing, and the role of these in the development of human culture and morality. The present paper is part of a larger project in which I explore how moral understandings of rights and entitlement, duties and responsibility are socialized among children in everyday interaction.


In order to ask for food from peers or caregivers, Aché children use a variety of grammatical resources to construct their requests ranging from bald imperatives to cohortative constructions. They draw these resources from the two languages into which they are socialized, Aché and Guaraní (the Aché communities are currently undergoing language shift from their heritage language, Aché, to the national language, Guaraní). I discuss here how they are employed in the construction of benefactive stance, alongside embodied behavior, such as gestures, gaze, and body positioning. I also examine how that stance is adjusted in reformulations and repairs.