On assessing situations and events in conversation: `extraposition' and its relatives
AbstractRecent research provides strong evidence that the syntacticization of recurrent multi-actional and interactional patterns for accomplishing social actions is quite a general phenomenon. Drawing on a body of audio and video recordings, we consider three pervasive conversational patterns whereby English speakers carry out the assessing of an event or situation, and the interactional contingencies which give rise to these patterns. We propose that one of these patterns (known as `extraposition') can be revealingly understood as having syntacticized to a grammatical and prosodically unified construction as an amalgamation of the other two patterns, which are interactional routines. We suggest that the `extraposition' construction provides a particularly elegant instance of how grammar emerges from the recurrent interactional practices which make up the fabric of our daily lives.