2004
Volume 41, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 1573-9775
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1236

Abstract

Abstract

Recently there has been an increased interest cross-linguistically in how speakers use interjections in everyday interaction. A particularly productive line of inquiry deals with what are known as change-of-state tokens, interjections with which speakers claim that there has been a shift in their cognitive state such as their knowledge, understanding, attention, etc. In this paper I explore the variability of the Dutch interjection /o/. Focusing on its use in response to informing turns, I argue that as a free-standing particle speakers use it to claim that the information in that prior turn was in some way unexpected, either because it contradicted what the speaker claimed he or she knew, or because it contradicted some presupposition that was encoded in an earlier question. I subsequently discuss the most frequent ways in which is combined with other turn components, showing how it is used to respond to announcements of valenced news, to do now-remembering, and to make claims of now-understanding. In closing I show that when prefaces additional turn components such as (‘okay’), each component deals with a different action-implication of the ongoing sequence and that is used to receive the information being conveyed.

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