Implementing delayed actions

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

7 Scopus citations


This chapter describes a language-specific solution to a generic and likely universal interactional issue – how to show that the current utterance is occasioned by and should be understood by reference to something other than the immediately preceding talk. While the default way of connecting an utterance to a prior one is by placing it immediately after the targeted turn (Sacks 1987, 1995; Sacks et al. 1974), on occasion interlocutors find themselves in need of showing that their current turn is noncontiguous with what came just before. One common interactional task then is to connect the current utterance to some early talk, what Sacks refers to as “skip-connecting” (Sacks 1995: II, 349–351, 356–357). Using the methodology of conversation analysis (CA) to examine Russian language conversations, this chapter focuses on one linguistic resource interlocutors can use to manage this interactional problem: the Russian discourse particle -to. An investigation of over sixty hours of recorded interactions between native Russian speakers demonstrates that this particle is deployed in order to index the delayed placement of the action implemented by the current turn-at-talk. The particle is typically placed after a word repeat that helps locate the target of the displaced action in prior talk. The chapter starts with a cross-linguistic overview of several currently documented solutions to the problem of contiguity breaks in talk-in-interaction. Turning attention to Russian, I examine some contexts in which the particle -to is used, including delayed clarification requests and resumptions of previously closed or abandoned courses of action.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationConversation Analysis
Subtitle of host publicationComparative Perspectives
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages28
ISBN (Electronic)9780511635670
ISBN (Print)9780521883719
StatePublished - Jan 1 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Sciences(all)

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    Bolden, G. B. (2009). Implementing delayed actions. In Conversation Analysis: Comparative Perspectives (pp. 326-353). Cambridge University Press.