Aff-clauses with a paraphrasing function

Let us begin the analysis of syntactically unintegrated att-clauses with a paraphrasing function by returning to example (1), which is shown in an extended version in example (13). In the example, the informer at the poison control centre (I) is asking the caller (C) whether she has noticed any symptoms of poisoning in her respiratory organs (line 3).

(13) Difficulties breathing? (GRIS: GIC 16519; I = informer, C = caller)

1 I: [...] se om de har kan ha nat samband, f[or de beror

see if this can have some connection because it depends

‘see if this has any connection, since it depends’

2 C: [ja:,



3 I: pa va de- (0.6) men du har inga symptom fran luftvagarna,

on what it- but you have no symptoms from the respiratory organs

‘on what i- but you don’t have any symptoms from the respiratory organs’

-}4 att du tycker de e jobbit a andas eller at[t de trycker

att you think it is difficult to breathe or att it presses ‘that you find it difficult to breath or that it presses’

5 C: [na:



-^6 I: over= brostet eller nat sadant?

over the chest or something like that

‘over the chest or something like that?’

In lines 4 and 6, I elaborates her question about the symptoms with two coordinated att-clauses: att du tycker de e jobbit a andas eller att de trycker over= brostet eller nat sadant? ‘that you find it difficult to breathe or that it presses over the chest or something like that’. Pragmatically and interactionally the att- clauses make perfect sense: they specify what I has just said, that is, they clarify I’s question about C’s condition (symptoms = difficult to breathe, pressure over the chest). Syntactically, however, no relationship to an element in the preceding discourse can be found. There is no matrix clause to which the att-clauses are subordinate, nor do they syntactically complement a phrasal head. As discussed at the beginning of the paper, informer I at the poison control centre explicates what she means when she asks if the caller has noticed any symptoms in her respiratory organs. The two att-clauses which are not syntactically subordinate to any element in the preceding structure give two examples of what the symptoms may be: that it is difficult to breathe and that there is a feeling of pressure over the chest. The informer thus rephrases her question to the patient and makes it more specific. The relation between the att-clauses and the preceding discourse could roughly be described as follows:

do you have noun x ^ [that is] do you feel y or z.. .? [examples of x]

In example (13), the element which the att-clauses rephrase is a noun (symptom ‘symptoms’). Example (14) from a focus group discussion on genetically modified food shows a case where the expression which is being rephrased is a verb phrase. In the example, pesticides are being discussed by the farmers participating in the discussion.

  • (14) Resistance to pesticides (GRIS: L Tema K, GML 4; A, C, F, G, H = farmers).
  • 1 G: ja (0.4) da blir ju ograset resistent [a ja=

prt then becomes prt the weed resistant and prt

‘well then the grass becomes resistant and well’

2 H: [ja:?



3 G: =(0.2) sa maste [man ()

then has one

‘then one has to’

4 H: [>a sen far vi hitta pa e<

and then get we invent a ‘and then we have to invent a’

  • 5 nytt s[prutmedel [a [sent new pesticide and then ‘new pesticide and then’
  • 6 G: [ja:t [.ja


‘yes’ ‘yes’

  • 7 C?: [°(mm)°
  • 8 C?: °(mm)°
  • 9 H: blir de resistent emot de a sen far m- (0.4)

becomes it resistant against that and then gets o- ‘it becomes resistant against that and then one has to’

  • 10 sa [gar de sat then goes it so ‘then it goes like that’
  • 11 ((4 lines omitted))

12 C: [a just ograsmedel blir ju Фkanske’nte

prt precisely pesticide becomes prt perhaps not ‘well, pesticides do not perhaps become’

13 resistentФ [m[en de e ju daremot svampar=

resistant but that is prt on the other hand fungi ‘resistant, it is rather the fungi that are that’

14 A: [n [a:,



15 F: [na,



-916 C: =a [bakterier att dom (0.2) Фforandras ju= and bacteria att they change prt

‘and bacteria, they change’

17 F: [a:o (.) a:o.


‘yes’ ‘yes’

18 C: =a [virusarna dom a[ndras [juФ.

and the viruses they change prt

‘and the viruses, they change’

  • 19 F: [mm::. [mm:.
  • 20 H: [>aj-<


‘yes I’

At the beginning of the example, G says that grass becomes resistant to pesticides (line 1). H responds to this by concluding that new pesticides then have to be invented (lines 4-5). In lines 5 and 9-10, when H says that it (Swe. de(t)) in turn becomes resistant to that (a sen blir de resistent emot de ‘it becomes resistant against that’), the reference is ambiguous. C’s contribution in lines 12-13 and 16-18 could be seen as a reaction to this. He points out that it is not the pesticides that become resistant but rather the fungi, viruses and bacteria. During this contribution he uses a syntactically unintegrated att-clause: att dom forandras ju ‘that they change’ (line 16).

As in example (13), the att-clause in example (14) refers to something specific in the preceding discourse which is rephrased in some way. In lines 13-16, C says that fungi and viruses are resistant: a just ograsmedel blir ju kanske’nte resistent men de e ju daremot svampar a bakterier ‘well, pesticides do not perhaps become resistant, it is rather the fungi and bacteria that are that’. When he continues by saying that att dom forandras ju ‘that they change’ he rephrases the characterization expressed by the verb in the previous clause: fungi and bacteria are resistant ^ fungi and bacteria change. The function of this att-clause seems to be to strengthen the point C is making about the contrast between pesticides, on the one hand, and bacteria and fungi, on the other hand. As in example (13), the att-clause occurs within the same turn and directly after the clause with the word which is rephrased. The relationship between the att-clause and the preceding discourse could be summarized as follows:

they verb x are y ^ [that is] they verb z [emphasizing a point made]

In some cases syntactically independent att-clauses are also used when speakers rephrase specific acts in the preceding discourse. This is the case in example (15), which is from a different call to the poison control centre than the call in example (13). The caller has just told the informer that he has been stung by a bee in his tongue. When the informer hears this she suggests that the caller should go to the hospital (line 1).

  • (15) Stung by a bee (GRIS:GIC 16784; I = informer C = caller)
  • -}1 I: [ja tycker att du ska aka in ti sjukhus.

i think that you shall go in to hospital

‘i think you should go to the hospital’

  • 2 ((four lines left out))
  • 3 I: [...] om man far de i munnen eller i ansikteti

if one gets it in the mouth or in the face

‘if you get it in your mouth or face’

4 C: jaha.



5 I: eller speciellt inne i munnen,

or especially inside in the mouth ‘or especially inside your mouth’

6 C: jaa±



7 I: sa kan de eh (0.2) kan de svullna, sa att man ehm (0.2) far

so can it can it swell so that one gets

‘it can it can swell so that one gets’

8 svariheter, (.) som du sajer svarihet me andning a sa

difficulties as you say difficulty with breathing and so

‘difficulties as you say difficulty with breathing and so’

  • 9 vidare, further ‘on’
  • 10 C: jaai



  • 11 (0.5)
  • 12 I: e:h=
  • 13 C: =ha?=

‘so:: eh?

-914 I: =att eh (0.6) de e darfor tycker ja de e bra om du:, (0.2)

ATT it is therefore think I it is good if you

‘that is why I think it is good if you’

-915 atminstone e pa sjukhus a (0.2) sa att dom kan, eh

at least are in hospital and so that they can

‘at least were in the hospital and, so that they can’

  • (0.8)
  • 16 C: bedoma da [(om), assess then if ‘assess then whether’
  • -917 I: [a bedoma de, a ha dej kanske under

PRT assess that and have you perhaps under ‘yes assess that and have you perhaps under’

-918 observation en stund,

observation a while ‘observation for a while’

In the four lines omitted from example (15), the informer says that people in her profession are normally quite cautious with bee stings of the kind the caller has told her about. The caller reacts to this with a minimal response. When the informer continues by explaining why one should be cautious when you get stung by a bee in your mouth or face (you can get a swelling which makes it difficult to breathe), the caller still reacts only with minimal responses (jaha ‘oh’ in line 4, jaa ‘okay/uhu’ in lines 6 and 10). In line 12, the informer, after a 0.5 second-long pause, makes a hesitation sound (eh ‘uh’). The caller responds to this by saying ha? ‘so:: eh?’, which indicates that he needs more information in order to draw a conclusion. Following this, in lines 14-17, the informer rephrases her suggestion that the caller should go to the hospital by producing a syntactically independent att-clause. The clause starts with a reference to what the informer herself has just said about swelling: att eh (0.6) de e darfor ‘that is why’. By using darfor ‘because’ as a pivot, the informer can then continue by saying that she thinks it would be good if the patient were in the hospital. She is then on her way to explicate her suggestion further when she interrupts herself: sa att dom kan, eh ‘so that they can’ (line 15). After a 0.8 long pause, the caller begins to complete the informer’s unfinished clause by saying bedoma da om ‘assess then whether’ (line 16). He is overlapped by the informer who repeats what the caller has said and adds that the caller can also be under observation for a while at the hospital (lines 17-18). In the context following the example, the caller grasps the seriousness of the situation.

The context of the att-clause in example (15) is more complex than the contexts of the clauses in examples (13) and (14). In this case, it is not only a specific word or expression which is paraphrased but rather a suggestion which has been expressed with a main clause some turns earlier: you should go to the hospital ^ you should at least be in the hospital so that they can... As in examples (13) and (14), the speaker returns to something previously said in order to clarify what she means. The function seems to be to strengthen a point made, more specifically to restate a suggestion (cf. example 14). The informer is trying to persuade the caller to go to the hospital, but the caller does not seem to respond to this before the informer rephrases her suggestion in lines 14-16 and 17-18. The relationship to the preceding discourse could be described as follows:

you should verb x to y^ [I really think] you should at least verb z in y so that...

[restating a suggestion]

Example (15) is similar to the example shown in (12) in section 3, which also exhibits a rephrasal. In (12), the chair person of a political youth organization (R) makes some suggestions as to how the organization could get funding for an event they are planning to organize (lines 1-3, 5). The other members of the board do not seem to pick up these suggestions. Following a 1.5 second-long pause at the end of the example, the chair in line 7 uses a syntactically independent att-clause (att checka nu me di har ‘so check with these’) to rephrase her suggestions as a directive. Instead of pointing out what one could do, R uses an imperative form of the verb checka ‘check’, which is semantically equivalent to kolla ‘check’ in lines 1 and 5. She thus makes her request explicit and directs it to the other members of the board, perhaps the secretary N in particular. Directly after the request she provides a reason for why her request should be met: nu sku de vara kiva att kunna ge naga arvode (.) annars far vi bara ge blommor ‘it would be nice to be able to give [them] remuneration, otherwise we can only give [them] flowers’ (lines 7-8,10).

As pointed out by Lehti-Eklund (2002: 2) in her analysis of the same example, the att-clause in example (12) occurs at the transition between acts. When R rephrases her statements that certain organizations should be contacted as a directive, she moves from discussion to decision-making. Nonetheless, the contents of the att-clause rephrase something that has been said in the preceding discourse. The function of the clause seems to make the request explicit and thus “add it to the records” in the sense discussed by Anward (2004). The relationship to the preceding discourse could be described as follows:

one could contact x ^ [I really want you to] contact x [making a request explicit]

To summarize, the syntactically unintegrated att-clauses in all the examples discussed in this section paraphrase something said in the preceding discourse. In examples (13) and (14) a specific wording in the preceding discourse is specified, clarified or modified. The wordings concern a concept expressed by a noun (symptoms) and an outcome expressed by a verb phrase (being resistant) respectively. In example (15), a specific clause with a suggestion (you should go to the hospital) is repeated and specified and in example (12), which was shown in section 3, previously presented suggestions are rephrased as a directive. The contents of all the att-clauses in question have already been expressed in some way in the preceding discourse. By using the syntactically independent att- clauses, the speakers present the contents again by adding more specific information or specifying an act such as a suggestion or request. All the examples occur in situations in which the speakers either react to something that has been said or not said and/or want to a get a certain reaction from the other speaker(s). The syntactically unintegrated att-clauses thus clearly function as communicative resources of a particular kind in the conversations and could be

seen as constructs of a construction with a certain function (rephrasing for example questions or suggestions in order to make them more explicit). In the next section, I will discuss att-clauses with a reasoning function, which occur in slightly different contexts than att-clauses with a paraphrasing function.

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