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Pause and Preference in Second Language Talk
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In classic CA literature, silence after a turn constructional unit is typically treated as delay of the upcoming turn that embodies a dispreferred action such as rejection or disagreement (Pomerantz, 1984; Sacks, 1987). Although such canonical CA findings appear to be based on monolingual data, a question remains concerning whether silence and other related interactional features (pauses or delays) do the same job in multilingual settings (Wong, 2000). Here we zoom in on exhibits drawn from English phone conversations between participants whose first languages are Chinese and English, respectively. We examine sequences in which attempts at making an offer or getting someone to make an offer fail to obtain immediate uptake. We show how participants deal with an apparent interactional trouble and achieve progressivity, if not (delayed) intersubjectivity, through mutual adaptation (Heeschen and Schegloff, 2003). In so doing, we also share our difficulty of definitively establishing the delay-dispreference connection and explore how such difficulty may in part be attributed to the multilingual nature of the interaction. We end by considering how systematic endeavors at applying CA to data from multilingual settings can enrich and refine classic CA findings.
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