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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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Being Equivocal

Being Equivocal

Affective Responses Left Unspecified

(p.147) Chapter 7 Being Equivocal
Emotion in Interaction

Auli Hakulinen

Marja-Leena Sorjonen

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the Finnish expression /voi että/, which is used as a response cry. It lacks referential meaning but is not devoid of meaning: it has become conventionalized as an index of affect display. /Voi että/ is part of a larger paradigm of phrasal affective responses. It is the most “open” one initiated with the interjection /voi/: there is no characterizing element but the interjection is followed by /että/, used elsewhere e.g. as a subordinating connective (’that’). This response merely voices recognition of the co-participant’s prior turn as one that has made an affective response relevant and that displays attunement to that affect. The chapter argues that by deploying a response type that expresses an affective stance but does not make the stance lexically explicit, the recipient orients to the ambivalence of the sequential implications and/or affective character of the prior talk.

Keywords:   response cry, sequential ambivalence, phrasal affective response, ambiguity of valence

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