Loosely Portrayed Speech in Interaction: Constructing Multiple Complainable Utterances

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2 Citations (Scopus)


Conversation analysis is used in investigating the interactional uses of loosely portrayed speech in interaction. This device combines elements of direct and indirect portrayal, conveying some fidelity to an original while, at the same time, indicating that it is not verbatim enactment of specific utterances. The instances in the current collection are in English, deriving from informal interaction, mainly telephone calls recorded in the UK and USA. They occur in complaints about a third party, recurrently by portraying the reported speaker’s criticisms of the current speaker. The reported speaker is depicted as making multiple criticisms, which adds to the reprehensible nature of their actions. By constructing the reported speaker’s actions, and, at the same time, indicating the stance of the current speaker toward them, the complained-about speaker’s behavior is portrayed as infringing the moral order and therefore the complaint as legitimate. Data are in British and American English.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)146-164
Number of pages19
JournalResearch on Language and Social Interaction
Issue number2
Early online date12 May 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2022


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