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Title:Forms and functions of the French discourse particle hein in French mundane conversation: a conversation analysis perspective
Author(s):Reali, Virginie
Director of Research:Golato, Peter; Golato, Andrea
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Golato, Andrea; Markee, Numa P.; Mall, Laurence
Department / Program:French
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):conversation analysis
discourse particle hein
mundane conversation
conversation analysis
Abstract:This is a qualitative study of the forms and functions of the French particle hein in mundane talk-in-interaction between French native speakers. This study was conducted using Conversation Analysis (CA) as methodology. The data for this study consist of four different sets of videotaped and audio-taped, non-elicited mundane conversation, yielding a total of 6 hours of conversation. Speakers included six family members and one friend. All data were collected with the subjects’ consent and in accordance with the regulations of the University of Illinois’ Institutional Review Board. After a thorough description of the methodology (chapter 1), I provide a literature review (chapter 2). I first report findings of previous studies on other discourse particles conducted with CA. I then present findings of non-CA studies previously done on French particles. Lastly, I present a literature review on hein. Chapters 3, 4 and 5 present the findings of my study on hein with respect to the place of hein in a turn constructional unit (TCU). My data show that hein can appear in four different positions: as a stand-alone particle, at the end of a TCU, at the conjunction of two TCUs uttered by the same party, and within a TCU. Chapter 3 is devoted to the functions of hein as a stand-alone particle. I demonstrate that in this position, the main function of hein is that of a repair initiator. However, a stand-alone hein can also be used as an attention getting device, a summons and/or an agreement pursuit. Chapter 4 focuses on the functions of hein at the end of a TCU, that is, in tag position. This hein appears to perform four main functions. The first function is that of an agreement pursuit. Furthermore, hein appears to be used as a device to stress important information and insist on taking the floor. In this position, hein also appears to be used as a device to intensify the act of hedging done in the previous TCU. Lastly, my data show that hein may be considered as a facilitative tag in the context of long tellings. Chapter 5 treats the functions of hein in two different sequential environments: hein at the conjunction of two latched TCUs uttered by the same party, and hein within a TCU. I argue that when hein is uttered between two latched TCUs, it is found in dispreferred environments (e.g., request + hein + account). Additionally, I show how the talk after the hein is linked with the part that is uttered before the hein. I present two instances of hein used in such environments. As for the hein within a TCU, my data show that in this environment, hein performs two main functions. First, an intra-TCU hein is interactively proven efficient as a device to stress the term(s) that immediately precede(s) the hein. Second, in some instances, a speaker produces what initially appears to be a complete TCU followed by hein, after which, it then becomes apparent that the remainder of the talk is built as a continuation of the prior TCU. Put differently, as the talk unfolds a tag-hein becomes an intra-turn hein. The conclusion situates the findings of this study in relation to prior research. In this discussion, the methodological advantages of using a conversation analytic approach are highlighted. The conclusion also points out the limitations of the study and avenues of future research.
Issue Date:2012-02-06
Rights Information:Copyright 2011 Virginie Reali
Date Available in IDEALS:2012-02-06
Date Deposited:2011-12

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