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Little Words That Matter: Discourse Markers “So” and “Oh” and the Doing of Other-Attentiveness in Social Interaction

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The article presents an analysis of actual, recorded social interactions between close familiars with the goal to describe discursive practices involved in showing engagement with the other party, or other-attentiveness. Focusing on the deployment of the discourse markers “so” and “oh” in utterances that launch new conversational topics, the article demonstrates that “so” overwhelmingly prefaces other-attentive topics, whereas “oh” prefaces self-attentive topics. We consider the interactional implications of this distribution and how the basic meanings of these linguistic objects are employed in the service of communicating interpersonal involvement.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2006

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