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SLATE talk by Makoto Hayashi

Event Type
Second Language Acquisition and Teacher Education
Room G-24 (basement), Foreign Languages Building
Mar 6, 2013   5:00 pm  
Makoto Hayashi
Free and open to the public.
Originating Calendar
School of Literatures, Cultures and Linguistics Calendar

Abstract:  Asking questions and responding to them is one of the most common vehicles through which people carry out their everyday business in social interaction. To the extent that questions impose constraints on what the recipient can'and should'relevantly do next, they place the questioner in an interactionally powerful position. That is not to say, however, that the recipient's next action is entirely controlled and determined by the constraints imposed by the preceding question. Rather, question recipients are active agents who can marshal a range of resources for resisting, problematizing, or evading agendas and resuppositions put forth by the questions they respond to. Using the methodology of Conversation Analysis, this study describes one such practice employed by speakers of Japanese.  It involves prefacing responses to questions with the word iya ('no'). While prefacing a response with a 'no'-token is commonplace after yes/no-questions, in this paper I examine 'no'-prefaced responses to wh-questions. I show that, by using iya ('no') -prefaced responses to wh-questions, respondents indicate their resistance to, and/or rejection of, some aspect of the preceding question. Data analysis reveals that iya-prefacing is used to indicate resistance to the following aspects of the preceding questions: (i) the epistemic stance invoked by the question regarding the knowledge states of the questioner and the respondent; (ii) the type of response pursued by the question; (iii) an assumption conveyed by the question regarding the states of affairs it addresses; and (iv) a larger course of action of which the preceding question is a part. The findings of this study contribute to a small but growing literature on 'no'-prefaced responses to actions other than yes/no-questions across different languages.

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