Conditional Relevance in Internet Relay Chat

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Kim, Kyooshiek
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Seoul National University Department of English Language and Literature
SNU Working Papers in English Linguistics and Language 5, 12-25
Internet relay chat; sequence organization; coherence; conditional relevance
Internet relay chat (IRC) discourse has often been observed that adjacent turns are not interactionally relevant to each other. Due to this characteristic, some scholars have proposed that there is little coherence in the conversational structure of IRC. Their proposal, however, seems to result from applying the adjacency pair concept only serially, considering only the turns that physically precede or follow each other. Rather, turns should be understood to have "conditional relevance," that is, upon the initiating first pair part turn, the responding second turn is due and relevant even though the responding turn may not be provided immediately. Using the concept of conditional relevance, this paper attempts to demonstrate the structural coherence of IRC. Despite the specific restraint of IRC mechanic system and the problem that the concept of turn is rather different from that of face-to-face communication, IRC can be explained as being structurally coherent under the concept of conditional relevance.
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College of Humanities (인문대학)English Language and Literature (영어영문학과)SNU working papers in English language and linguisticsSNU working papers in English language and linguistics Vol.05 (2006)
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