P A P E R S
   by author
  by issue

   M I S S I O N

   C O N T A C T
I S S U E    N O .    2 6    [ A U G U S T    2 0 0 1 ]

Harrie Mazeland and Minna Zaman-Zadeh

The logic of clarification:
Some observations about word-clarification repairs in Finnish-as-a-lingua-franca interactions

We examined some of the methods adult foreign-language learners use to clarify the meaning of a word to a co-learner of the language. Three dimensions of other-initiated word-clarification repairs are discussed. At the level of the conceptual logic of the clarification of words in talk in interaction, the focus is on the mode of problem solving. The interactional logic is investigated by looking at the sequential trajectory of the repair. Word clarifications may be done as a one-step move or as a multi-step project that is interactionalized in an ordered series of turns. The conceptual and interactional design of clarification repairs meet at the level of the semantic logic of the repair. We examine this latter aspect for the clarification of state-modifying categories (expressions such as divorce or repair that presuppose a prior state). A state-modifying category can be clarified by locating its position in a little semantic system of categorically organized knowledge. Interestingly, the structuring work from which a system of semantic relations emerges in the course of the delivery of the clarification appears to coincide with the sequential design of the repair.

The analytic thrust of the paper is twofold. Firstly, it is an empirical investigation of the organization of repair in talk in interactions between adult foreign-language learners. Secondly, it is a study in interactional semantics. We try to analyze how adult foreign-language learners do a kind of everyday semantics in their endeavours to explain the meaning of a word to a co-participant. We describe practices of meaning construction that are used in language-learning activities in talk in interaction.

 Published as:
Harrie Mazeland and Minna Zaman-Zadeh (2004). The logic of clarification. Some observations about word- clarification repairs in Finnish-as-a-lingua-franca interactions. In: Rod Gardner & Johannes Wagner, eds., Second Language Conversations [Advances in Applied Linguistics Series]. London, New York: Continuum, 132-156.



InLiSt No.25
PDF (107 KB)

Homepage of
Harrie Mazeland

Get Acrobat Reader


[ H O M E P A G E | P A P E R S by author | P A P E R S by issue | C O N T A C T ]

© 1998-2009 University of Potsdam, Prof. Dr. Elizabeth Couper-Kuhlen, Professor of English Linguistics.
2010 University of Bayreuth, Prof. Dr. Karin Birkner, Professor of German Linguistics.