When arriving to a social encounter, how and when can a person show how s/he is doing/feeling? This article answers this question, examining personal state sequences in copresent openings of casual (residential) and institutional (parent-teacher) encounters. Describing a regular way participants constitute – and move to expand – these sequences, this research shows how arrivers display a non-neutral (e.g., negative, humorous, positive) personal state by both (i) deploying interactionally-timed stance-marking embodiments that enact a non-neutral state, and (ii) invoking a selected previous activity/experience positioned as precipitating that non-neutral state. Data demonstrate that arrivers time their non-neutral personal state displays calibrated to their understanding of their relationship with coparticipants. Analysis reveals that arrivers use this action to proffer a first-hand experience as a self-attentive first topic that works as a bid for empathy, inviting recipients to collaborate in expanding the personal state sequence and thereby co-create an empathic moment. Data in American English.
Communication, Sociology, Anthropology, Education
Research on Language and Social Interaction
Taylor & Francis
Pillet-Shore, Danielle (2018). Arriving: Expanding the personal state sequence. Research on Language and Social Interaction, 51(3), special issue “Opening and maintaining face-to-face interaction” (Pillet-Shore, ed.), available online at: www.tandfonline.com/hrls
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