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Marking something as unexpected. Prosodically marked ‘no’ in German and Persian

  • This conversation analytic study compares the use of negation particles in spoken German and Persian, namely nein/nee and na. While these particles have a range of functions in both languages (Ghaderi 2022; Imo 2017), their use in response to news remains understudied. We focus on nein/nee and na in two sequential contexts: (i) after prior disconfirmations (Extract (a)) and (ii) in response to either solicited or unsolicited informings (see Extracts (b) and (c), respectively). In both contexts, nein/nee and na mark unexpectedness and open up an opportunity space for more, but they do so in different ways and with different outcomes. Nein/nee- and na-turns after disconfirming, often minimal responses to first-position confirmable turns mark the prior as unexpected (or even contrasting with the nein/nee/na-speaker’s expectations) and thus as expandable/accountable (cf. Ford 2001; Gubina/Betz 2021). Nein/nee/na-turns after informings (e.g., announcements that display a story teller’s negative emotional stance) differ not only in sequential position but also in prosodic realization. They can be either falling or rising, but all are characterized by marked prosody, i.e., lengthening, very low onset, smiling or breathy voice, or high overall pitch. Through position and turn design features, such nein/nee- and na-turns not only mark a prior turn as counter to (normative) expectations, but may also display the speaker’s affective stance and affiliate with the affective stance of the prior interactant. By comparing the use of nein/nee and na in German and Persian in the two functions illustrated in Extracts (a) and (b/c), we will show (i) how nein/nee- and na-turns shape interactional trajectories after responsive actions and (ii) what role the particles play in managing news and stance-taking as well as epistemic and affective positioning. Apart from revealing similarities in the use of German and Persian negation particles, the results of our crosslinguistic comparison will demonstrate that even if different languages have similar practices for specific actions, the use of these practices is language- and culture-specific. This means that even similar practices in different languages have their own “collateral effects” (Sidnell/Enfield 2012), linguistic and prosodic characteristic features, and, at least sometimes, consequences for social actions accomplished in the specific language (e.g., Dingemanse/Blythe/Dirksmeyer 2014; Evans/Levinson 2009; Floyd/Rossi/Enfield (eds.) 2020; Fox et al. 2009). Our study uses the method of Conversation Analysis (Sidnell/Stivers (eds.) 2013) and draws on more than 80 hours of audio and video recordings of spontaneous interactions (co-present, via video link, and on the telephone) in everyday and institutional contexts.

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Author:Alexandra GubinaORCiDGND, Emma BetzORCiDGND, Carmen Taleghani-NikazmORCiDGND, Reihaneh Afshari Saleh
Parent Title (English):10th International Contrastive Linguistics Conference (ICLC-10), 18-21 July, 2023, Mannheim, Germany
Place of publication:Mannheim
Editor:Beata Trawiński, Marc Kupietz, Kristel Proost, Jörg Zinken
Document Type:Part of a Book
Year of first Publication:2023
Date of Publication (online):2023/10/20
Tag:German; Persian; affective stance; affiliation; expectation; negation particle; newsmark; prosody; stance management
GND Keyword:Deutsch; Konversationanalyse; Negationsanhebung; Persisch; Prosodie
First Page:124
Last Page:126
DDC classes:400 Sprache / 400 Sprache, Linguistik
Open Access?:ja
Leibniz-Classification:Sprache, Linguistik
Linguistics-Classification:Phonetik / Phonologie
Program areas:Pragmatik
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung-Weitergabe unter gleichen Bedingungen 3.0 Deutschland