S-Space Language Education Institute (언어교육원) Language Research (어학연구) Language Research (어학연구) Volume 26 Number 1/4 (1990)
WH-Clefts in English Conversation: An Interactional Perspective
- Kim, Kyu-hyun
- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 언어교육원
- 어학연구, Vol.26 No.4, pp. 721-743
- This paper explores the functional characteristics of the WH-cleft construction (e.g., 'What I want is inexpensive lawyers.') in various conversational contexts within the framework of conversation analysis (cf. Sacks, Schegloff, and Jefferson, 1974). It is shown that WH-clefts are used when the speaker goes back to a point made in the preceding context of talk, or deals with the preceding talk as a whole for the purpose of recalibrating his/her point to suit the current and following talk, such as marking the gist of talk, resuming a topic, showing disagreement, or initiating repair. The initial WH-clause of WH-clefts is shown to have an important interactional import in these contexts in terms of expressing the speaker's stance in shifting the course of talk, with pragmatic inference of contrastiveness serving as a contextual factor that provides coherence for the shift.