Greeting: Displaying stance through prosodic recipient design


This article examines the social action of greeting in naturally occurring face-to-face interaction, paying special attention to how people prosodically produce their very first vocalized utterances. Close analysis of a corpus of 337 video recorded openings shows that participants recipient design greetings on the level of prosody, tailoring them to each addressee and thus hearably displaying a stance toward the current state and character of their social relationship. Documenting the discovery of a prosodic continuum along which parties fine-tune their greetings, this article elucidates two distinct clusters of prosodic features with which participants recurrently design their greetings. Analysis demonstrates that parties use each prosodic cluster to display a different stance toward encountering the addressed recipient, with prosodically “large” greetings displaying a positive stance of approval and prosodically “small” greetings displaying (no more than) a neutral stance.



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Research on Language and Social Interaction


Taylor & Francis

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