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Non-attributive m/ttying+ NP in the final periphery

While examples (1-4) featured non-attributive examples of mittying + NP in the initial periphery, (probably) non-attributive instances of mittying + NP can also be found in the final (“right”) periphery. Since these examples are syntactically, prosodically and functionally quite similar, it is sufficient to discuss only the following example from a private conversation:

Example (5) Shitty history stuff

1 A: sEkt is NICH so geil.

champagne is not that great

2 S: DOCH.=

yes it is

3 =sEkt is GEIL.

champagne is great

4 A: proSECCO.=


5 =JA.


6 S: BAH.


7 A: < Is SPRUdeliger.> [((laughs))]

it is more sparkling

8 S: [NE; ]


9 ?: <



10 A: ja.=kEIne AHnung.

well dunno

11 ja.=das Is amSAMStag.

well it’s on Saturday

12 aber das sind NICH dA-

but that ain’t

13 WEISS nIch,=


14 =das geht dann [von SAMStag irgendwie elf- ]

it goes from Saturday somewhat eleven

15 s: [aber_wieso-=SAMStag Is doch-]

but what’s the matter, on Saturday the stress will be

16 ah_is doch [stress wieder vorbei erstmal.]

eh the stress will be over for the moment

  • 17 A: [°hhh ]
  • 18 hhh° JA.


19 ja.=ja.ja.=

yes yes yes

2 0 ja.=ich bin auch SO: frOh,

well I’m so glad as well

  • 21 dass ich das jEtzt geREgelt hab? = that I managed it/that now
  • 22 ^ =mit dem schEIss geSCHICHTSkram da.

regarding the shitty history stuff there

  • 23 (1.2)
  • 24 S: nur nochEIN thEma.

just one more subject

  • 25 dUSCHWEIN. you pig
  • 26 A: JA.


  • 27 VOLL. indeed
  • (Source: linguistische Audio Datenbank (lAuDa), Interaction 161)

First, the two friends Andrea (A) and Sandra (S) talk about the question of whether they like champagne or not (lines 1-9). This question is a sub-topic of a conversation about a promotional film which will be shot on Saturday. After Andrea closed the champagne side sequence (Jefferson 1972) and returned to the issue of the promotional film as the main topic (see lines 10-11), she produces two truncated turn-constructional units (cf. lines 12,14). Sandra’s reaction to these disfluencies in Andrea’s turn indicates that she perceives them as a display of concern: she emphasizes that the stress will be over after Saturday (lines 15-16); note that Andrea has agreed to participate in the promotional film, but she and Sandra also have to prepare for an upcoming presentation and a test. Andrea, in return, agrees with Sandra by means of a series of agreement tokens and breathing (lines 18-19). Then she emphasizes that she finally managed to do “something” (note that the anaphoric/deictic pronoun “das” ‘it/ that’ in line 21 is referentially vague) and immediately carries on with the turn- constructional unit “mit dem schEIss geSCHICHTSkram da” (‘regarding the shitty history stuff there’, line 22) in order to provide further information which specifies the topical background of her preceding turn-constructional unit and, hence, restricts its possible readings. After a notable pause of over one second

(line 23), Sabine takes over the turn and underlines that there is not much work left (line 24).[1] Then Andrea agrees emphatically by means of “JA” (‘yes’) in combination with the affirmative intensifier “VOLL.” (‘indeed’).[2]

The turn-constructional unit “mit dem schEIss geSCHICHTSkram da” (‘regarding the shitty history stuff there’, line 22) ties the preceding turn-constructional unit back to the issue of the upcoming presentation (the presentation has to deal with a historical issue) - a topic Andrea and Sandra did not talk about in the preceding course of talk (at least as far as it has been recorded) but which is well known to Sandra since she has to prepare the presentation together with Andrea. Syntactically and prosodically, “mit dem schEIss geSCHICHTSkram da” in line (22) is realized after a point of possible syntactic and prosodic completion: the sentence brace has been closed, all argument positions are filled and the turn-constructional unit has its own focus accent and a terminal pitch movement. There is no inter-turn gap, though, which might be treated as a transition relevance place by Sandra. Since Andrea neither carries on talking herself nor motivates Sandra to talk with regard to the topical antecedent, “mit dem schEIss geSCHICHTSkram da” cannot be analyzed as a dislocated constituent in the initial periphery of the subsequent turn-constructional unit which is meant to initiate topic talk. It could be classified as an insertable instead - i.e. an element that does not “properly fit the end of the prior unit but belong[s], canonically speaking, somewhere within it” (Couper-Kuhlen and Ono 2007: 515) - if “dem schEIss geSCHICHTSkram da” were to be analyzed as an extraposed attributive modifier (cf. “das ^ mit dem schEIss geSCHICHTSkram da” ‘that ^ with the shitty history stuff there’). In that case, it could be characterized as a “quasiattributive” mittying + NP which oscillates between the categories “attributive mittying + NP” and “non-attributive mittying + NP”.

  • [1] It is not clear if the address term “Schwein” (‘pig’, line 25) is a means for teasing or an allusion to the German idiomatic expression “Glucksschwein” (‘lucky pig’; in Germany, pigs areknown as a symbol for good luck). Cf. Eisenberg (1986), Miller (1986), Drew (1987) and Gunthner(2000a: 155ff) as regards teasing in everyday conversation.
  • [2] See Imo (2011) concerning post-positioned intensifiers in spoken German talk-in-interaction.
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