AbstractPrevious research on the conversation analytic phenomenon of ‘repair’ has focused on its design and function in spoken interaction. Conversely, research on written text or writing rarely focuses on interaction. In this article, we examine repair in written discourse; specifically in online settings. The data corpus comprises one-to-one quasi-synchronous Facebook ‘chat’. First, we show that, as in spoken interaction, repair happens. This basic observation supports conversation analytic arguments that features of talk, like repair and laughter, do not ‘leak randomly’ into interaction but are precision-timed and designed to accomplish action. Second, we report on two types of repair: visible repair which can be seen and oriented to by both participants in the interaction, and message construction repair, which is available only to the message’s writer. While the practice of message construction repair is made possible through the affordances of the online medium, it nevertheless shows how participants in written interaction are oriented to the same basic contingencies as they are in spoken talk: building sequentially organized courses of action and maintaining intersubjectivity. We suggest that assumptions about differences between spoken and online interaction are premature. Rather, we argue that online interaction should be treated as an adaptation of an oral speech-exchange system.
CitationMeredith, J. and Stokoe, E. (2014) Repair: Comparing Facebook ‘chat’ with spoken interaction, Discourse & Communication, 8(2), pp. 181-207.
JournalDiscourse & Communication
SponsorsThis work was supported by the Economic and Social Research Council (grant number: ES/I903321/1)
Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/