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Regrading as a Conversational Practice

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Title:Regrading as a Conversational Practice
Authors:Bilmes, Jack
Keywords:regrading (upgrading/downgrading)
conversation analysis
Date Issued:2018
Abstract:The purpose of this paper is to initiate the topicalization of upgrading and
downgrading (regrading) in conversational interaction; that is, to offer some
fundamental considerations for viewing regrading as an object of study rather
than as a taken-for-granted conversational practice. I begin by describing the
conversation analytic conception and use of regrading and distinguishing three
subtypes. I note further that regrading is a manifestation of scaling, the
relationship between the two being reflexive. Regrading, from an interactional
perspective, involves a positioning followed by a repositioning on a scale, and so
is inherently sequential. I discuss the relationship of contrast and scaling,
secondary scales, and certain sequential aspects of regrading. Through the
examination of transcribed segments of talk, I comment on the prevalence of
regrading as a conversational practice, and on scales as constituting, to a large
extent, the underlying structure of talk. I want to claim that (1) Interaction
consists, to some considerable extent, of movements, i.e. regrading, on various
scales. (2) Understanding of those scales guides interpretation, especially
implicature and implication. And (3) understanding word choices as scaling
choices is a key to the analysis of how utterances function.
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Appears in Collections: Jack Bilmes

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