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Vocalisations of pain and effort – phonetical patterns, sequential emergence and action ascription

Konferensbidrag (offentliggjort, men ej förlagsutgivet)
Författare Inga-Lill Grahn
Camilla Lindholm
Jenny Nilsson
Jan Lindström
Lena Wenner
Martina Huhtamäki
Publicerad i 5th International Conference on Conversation Analysis, Loughborough, UK
Publiceringsår 2018
Publicerad vid
Språk en
Länkar www.icca2018.org/wp-content/uploads...
Ämneskategorier Svenska språket


The study of non-lexical items in natural conversation has often been neglected in the linguistic research tradition (but see e.g. Ogden 2012, Keevallik 2014). We argue that explorations of such vocalisations provide significant contributions to a better understanding of the realms of language and the workings of multimodal resources in human interaction. In this paper we present a study of vocalisations of pain and/or effort in embodied action sequences, more specifically, non-lexical sound objects occurring in medical encounters and in preventive healthcare activities (personal training and massage sessions). Our threefold focus is to show how non-lexical items can be given a phonetical description, how they emerge in embodied sequential organization and what situated meanings they are ascribed (see Couper-Kuhlen 2014, Keevallik 2014). In our data, the vocalisations are produced by patients and clients, while the institutional representatives (doctor/personal trainer/massage therapist) are listening, watching or physically manipulating the client. One recurrent type of vocalisation in the data is a “groan”, produced in repetitive physical effort. The extract shows a case with three men (CLient 1, 2, 3) and a personal trainer (PT) working out together. They are using a training machine lifting heavy weights; CL2 is exercising by doing several repetitions of lifts and the other three are watching. 01 CL2 {LIFT 1}{GROAN 1} 02 PT [bra: vi kör vidare [goo:d let’s move on 03 CL1 [°bra° [°good° 04 CL3 [°asbra° [°awesome° [18 lines omitted] 05 CL2 [{LIFT 8} 06 [{GROAN 8} 07 PT två kvar >sluta låta< two left >stop sounding< 08 PPP ((CL1 & CL3 laugh)) In line 1, CL2 produces a first vocalisation (groan) after completing the first lift. It is followed by assessments in overlap from the other participants (line 2–4). The exercise continues through ten lift repetitions accompanied by vocalisations where a glottal stop is followed by a vowel produced with more or less breathy voice (could be transcribed as [Ɂæ̣h]). For every repetition, the length and subglottal pressure increase to a point where the groan is almost a scream. Almost every repetition is followed by assessments and encouragements from the other participants. In line 7, the PT gives a jocular metacomment on the eighth lift and vocalisation in the series (Stop sounding!), showing an orientation to the groan as an interactional contribution; during the remaining repetitions (not displayed above) CL2 then produces less subglottal pressure. This action sequence shows how a non-lexical item is fitted into an embodied activity and oriented to with timely assessments by the other participants (Keevallik 2014). In our study we will analyze a collection of vocalisations in different phonetic realizations, all of them coordinated with ongoing bodily activity and with a variation of responding actions. In conclusion, our empirical investigation of authentic embodied action sequences aims to uncover the interactional power and meaning potential of vocalisations, thereby contributing to the neglected issue of non-lexical items in linguistic inquiry.

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