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Figurative Pivots: The Use of Figurative Expressions in Pivotal Topic Transitions

Holt, Elizabeth and Drew, Paul (2005) Figurative Pivots: The Use of Figurative Expressions in Pivotal Topic Transitions. Research on Language and Social Interaction, 38 (1). pp. 35-61. ISSN 0835-1813

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Abstract

In this article, we use conversation analysis in an investigation of figurative expressions in conversation. We begin with the observation that figurative expressions are often followed by disjunctive transitions to a new topic (cf. Drew & Holt, 1988, 1995, 1998). In some instances, however, the figurative expression is used as a pivot to a new matter: The figurative expression forms a bridge connecting to the previous talk but opening up the possibility of moving away from that matter to a different one. In this article, we focus on these pivotal transitions, showing how aspects of the design of figurative expressions (such as the fact that they recurrently act as summaries and assessments of the previous detailing) make them appropriate devices for moving away from the matter at hand while at the same time enabling other matters to be introduced. Analysis of instances of these stepwise (rather than disjunctive) topic transitions raises issues concerning common difficulties in identifying topic transitions in interaction and the mechanisms by which stepwise transitions are managed.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: UoA 57 (English Language and Literature)
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Schools: School of Music, Humanities and Media
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Depositing User: Cherry Edmunds
Date Deposited: 06 Aug 2008 14:28
Last Modified: 21 Oct 2008 13:43
URI: http://eprints.hud.ac.uk/id/eprint/1381

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