Centre for Research in Communication and Culture


9 January 2019

Elliott Hoey - Self-authorization in social interaction: Some uses of lemme

Presented By DARG
  • 13:00-14:30 15:00-16:30
  • B1.14 Brockington Building

About this event

This study in progress concerns the basic social action of requesting. It looks at a particular linguistic format for doing requesting in English, the first person singular imperative let me or lemme X. Something curious about this construction is that it presents a situation of artificial approval: the recipient is only formally given the opportunity to permit or forbid the action, as the speaker typically presumes permission in going through with it. In essence, the speaker uses lemme X to self-authorize some action or undertaking. Based on a collection of over 70 cases of let me X analyzed using conversation analysis, I provide an account for this verbal practice in terms of the sequential contexts of its occurrence, the actions it implements, and the social-interactional contingencies it appears to orient to. I will argue that lemme X is a linguistic format for prioritizing the speaker’s agenda, interests, perspective, etc., where such an action was not locally provided for.

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