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Emotion in Interaction$
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Anssi Perakyla and Marja-Leena Sorjonen

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199730735

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199730735.001.0001

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Exploring Affiliation in the Reception of Conversational Complaint Stories

Exploring Affiliation in the Reception of Conversational Complaint Stories

(p.113) Chapter 6 Exploring Affiliation in the Reception of Conversational Complaint Stories
Emotion in Interaction

Elizabeth Couper-Kuhlen

Oxford University Press

This chapter investigates the linguistic resources deployed by recipients of conversational complaint stories to show affiliation (or not) with the teller, affiliation being understood as the display of support and endorsement for a conveyed affective stance, here typically anger and/or indignation. Among the verbal means for affiliative reception are claims of understanding, congruent negative assessments and by-proxy justifications, while factual follow-up questions, minimal responses and withholdings are shown to be non-affiliative. As a rule, affiliative verbal devices are accompanied by prosodic matching or upgrading, while non-affiliative ones have prosodic downgrading. The affiliative import of response cries is shown to depend even more heavily on prosodic matching or upgrading, although the transitoriness of prosody makes verbal reinforcement a desideratum. All in all, the data discussed here present a complex picture of what it takes to come across as affiliative in response to a conversational complaint story, but one not lacking in systematicity.

Keywords:   affiliation, affective stance, complaint stories, response cries, prosodic matching

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