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Figures of speech : figurative expressions and the management of topic transition in conversation

Drew, P. and Holt, E. (1998) Figures of speech : figurative expressions and the management of topic transition in conversation. Language in Society. pp. 495-522. ISSN 1469-8013

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Abstract

In conversation, speakers occasionally use figurative expressions such as “had a good innings,” “take with a pinch of salt,” or “come to the end of her tether.” This article investigates WHERE in conversation such expressions are used, in terms of their sequential distribution. One clear distributional pattern is found: Figurative expressions occur regularly in topic transition sequences, and specifically in the turn where a topic is summarized, thereby initiating the closing of a topic. The paper discusses some of the distinctive features of the topic termination/transition sequences with which figurative closings are associated, particularly participants' orientation to their moving to new topics. Finally, the interactional use of figurative expressions is considered in the context of instances where their use fails to secure topical closure, manifesting some conflict (disaffiliation, etc.) between the participants.

Item Type: Article
Copyright, Publisher and Additional Information: © 1998 Cambridge University Press. Reproduced in accordance with the publisher's self-archiving policy.
Keywords: figurative expressions, idioms, conversation, topic
Academic Units: The University of York > Sociology (York)
Depositing User: Repository Officer
Date Deposited: 06 Sep 2006
Last Modified: 17 Oct 2013 14:40
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0047404598004035
Status: Published
Refereed: Yes
Related URLs:
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/1545

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