Just Gassing: An Analysis of Direct Reported Speech in a Conversation Between Employees of a Gas Supply Company

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This article focuses on direct reported speech, investigating its use in a conversation between two employees of a gas supply company. First, the design of the device is considered, beginning with the observation that it claims to reproduce former utterances, and noting that this underpins a number of other closely related features: that it provides evidence of what was said; that it can be used to portray a series of utterances; that it gives 'access' to them in a seemingly objective fashion; and that prosody can be used to convey how the reported locution was uttered. This leads to a consideration of how the device contributes to the sequence of speech activities embedded within the conversation. Second, the sequential position of the reported speech is considered in terms of the recipient's responses. This further illuminates how features of the device contribute to its role within the ongoing sequence of actions, and consequently the kinds of actions that appropriately follow it. Thus, the contribution of the reported speech in terms of the institutional tasks conducted by the speakers is considered, and the nature of 'institutional' versus 'ordinary' talk. It is suggested that a central use made of the device is to generate affiliation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)505-537
Number of pages33
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1999


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