May 16, 2019
5:00pm to 6:30pm
Haines 279

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

Jeff Robinson (Professor and Department Chair of Communication, Portland State University): "Candidate-Answer Questions, Preference Organization, and the Right Side of the Transition Space"

This talk reports preliminary conversation-analytic findings from work in progress on a corpus of 346 positively formatted polar interrogatives that primarily implement the social action of seeking information, and that do so ‘genuinely’ by invoking a relatively ‘unknowing’ stance (i.e., Not included in these cases are interrogatives that implement invitations, offers, proposals, pre-sequences, announcements, displays of astonishment, newsmarks, other-initiations of repair, jokes, criticisms, and assessments). In a previous report, it was found that: (1) on the one hand, compared to unconditional affirmation responses, unconditional disaffirmation responses were delayed longer; yet (2) this difference in time-to-response did not reliably discriminate between (i.e., project a difference between the production of) unconditional affirmation and disaffirmation responses. The current talk does two things. First, it proposes an explanation for these differences in time-to-response, which is that a large majority of the focal interrogatives are candidate-answer questions (Pomerantz, 1988) that invoke a stance that such candidate answers are more likely to be affirmed than disaffirmed, which establishes a preference-organizational bias toward affirmation. Second, this talk examines cases in which, prior to responses, questioners extend their turns beyond transition-relevance points (e.g., with increments, turn-final ‘or,’ etc.); these cases are used to examine the nature of the ‘right’ side of the transition space, as well as what different amounts of time-to-response mean/project for questioners in terms of the nature of forthcoming responses.