Nu-prefaced responses in Russian conversation

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

7 Scopus citations


This chapter examines the Russian particle nu, focusing on its use in responses to polar and question-word questions. I show that nu prefaces responses that are, in some way, misaligned vis-a-vis the initiating action. First, nu may preface non-type-conforming responses, i.e., responses that "depart from the constraints embodied in the grammatical form" of the question (Raymond 2003, 946). Such responses may operate on the terms of the question, correct its presuppositions, resist the action the question implements, and problematize its assumption of answerability. Second, nu may preface responses that conform to the question's grammatical constraints and forward its action agenda, but convey an incongruent epistemic stance by suggesting that the questioner already knows the solicited information.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationBetween Turn and Sequence
Subtitle of host publicationTurn-Initial Particles across Languages
EditorsJohn Heritage, Marja-Leena Sorjonen
PublisherJohn Benjamins Publishing Company
Number of pages34
ISBN (Electronic)9789027200488
StatePublished - 2018

Publication series

NameStudies in Language and Social Interaction
ISSN (Print)1879-3983

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


  • Action formation
  • Epistemics
  • Preference
  • Question-answer sequences
  • Russian
  • Sequence organization
  • Type conformity


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