Linguistics colloquium: Leor Cohen

01/12/2015 - 14:00 - 15:30

Leor Cohen
The Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya

Title: Small stories of ongoing events as 'world attending' sequences: struggles over presents and futures

Abstract: Located within narrative practices scholarship, this paper explores small stories of ongoing events. These are conventionalized, locally situated and interactionally organized articulations of the moment-to-moment, 'here and now' noticings of perceptible events in the world. Herein, this practice is coined world attending, and operationalized as such. Four Ethiopian Israeli males (age 16-17) in a northern Israeli city recorded themselves for 5 hours across 9 sessions, while traversing an urban landscape on foot or via public transportation in and around pick-up games (soccer or basketball) at public city parks. World attendings are marked by a sequence-initial disjunct/discourse marker "tir'e" ('look'), micro-pause and often a continuation of the topic shift. World attendings are found to be coextensive with competing local interactional projects among interlocutors exploiting unrealized possibilities (Labovian comparators), such as hypothetical projections (conditionals or futures) and commands (imperatives). Competitive projects can be easily won/lost, doggedly pursued, or simply abandoned midway. Spatialization processes (De Fina 2009) emerge as key in understanding inherent dialectic relationships of constraints and affordances between talk and space. The type of natural data presented here, produced by participants who are outdoors and on-the-go, provides unique opportunities to study the indexical and coterminous nature of language and the world.

 

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