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Enhancing solidarity through dispreferred format: The nuntey-clause in Korean conversation as a normative basis for leveraging action

Issue: Vol 3 No. 1 (2018) Special Issue: Conversation analytic studies of language use in interaction (2)

Journal: East Asian Pragmatics

Subject Areas:

DOI: 10.1558/eap.34742


The Korean clausal-connective nuntey, a particle indicating ‘background’, is analysed in terms of the ‘my-side-revealing’ practice that projects ‘escape trajectories’ in which an incipiently-formulated action is foreshown to be retractable. For instance, in response to an offer, incipient non-compliance, marked by -nuntey, may be leveraged into acceptance; here, the speaker emerges as a ‘markedly self-sufficient’ beneficiary who ostensibly orients to minimising the cost of burden on the part of the offer-maker. The offer-maker, on his/her part, emerges as a ‘markedly other-attentive’ benefactor through deferentially overriding the recipient’s nuntey-marked account adumbrating a dispreferred response. Across different contexts, the nuntey-marked response, with its expansion-relevant character, embodies the speaker’s normative orientation, furnishing the opportunity for the participants to manage face, morality, and solidary relationships. Cross-linguistic implications are noted with reference to the self-indulgent practice of ‘distancing’, with the hearer being mobilised as a co-member to accountably co-leverage the current action with upgraded affiliation. 

Author: Kyu-hyun Kim

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