Plenary talk by Trine Heinemann

Trine Heinemann | University of Helsinki
Trine Heinemann is a Marie Curie Fellow at the Finnish Centre of Excellence in Intersubjectivity in Interaction. She is a trained Conversation Analyst, who is interested both in the purely grammatical aspects of social interaction, as well as in the role played by gesture, embodied actions and the overall material surroundings in which interaction takes place. Her recent studies include the investigation of where and for what reasons designers point as well as the ways in which home helps manipulate vacuum cleaners in relation to ongoing interaction.


On delayed perception of absent and present objects: The Danish change-of-state token nå:rh.
While the ‘local sensitivity’ of conversation is such that any object in the environment can in principle impose upon and become the focus of participants’ talk (Bergmann, 1990; 2012), it seems to be the case that most objects are ‘talked into being’ as resources for coordinating actions. The inherently social and situated nature of objects entails that participants need not only see, hear, smell or feel the relevant object at a particular point in time, but also – and more importantly – perceive that object in an interactionally relevant way, to identify the ways in which the object relates to the coordination of the ongoing action, activity or task they are engaged in (e.g. Goodwin, 1996; Nishizaka, 2000; Keisanen, 2012; Nevile, 2013; De Stefani, 2014).

In this presentation, I shall focus on situations in which participants’ awareness of the necessity to perceive an object (rather than just see, feel, hear or smell it) come to the forefront of interaction. These are situations in which perception is delayed, i.e. not accomplished at the point of seeing, hearing, smelling or feeling an object. In such situations, participants orient to perception as momentarily absent, by producing a change-of-state token upon its delayed occasion. In Danish, this change-of-state is indexed by nå:rh, which is a prosodic variant of the generic change-of-state token nå (e.g. Femø Nielsen, 2002). This prosodic variant is otherwise used to indicate ‘now-understanding’ in a similar fashion to that of the Finnish change-of-state token aa (Koivisto, 2015), i.e. as a sign of problem resolution that enables sequence closure and resumption of the ongoing activity. In the context of delayed perception, nå:rh thus serves to register that while perception was not immediately occasioned by seeing, smelling, hearing or feeling an object, it has now been achieved.

Bergmann, Jörg (1990) On the local sensitivity of conversation. In: Markova, I. & Foppa, K. (eds.), The Dynamics of Dialogue. Hertfordshire: Harvester, 201-226.

Bergmann, Jörg (2012) Irritationen, Brüche, Katastrophen – Über soziale Praktiken des Umgangs mit ”Störungen” in der Interaktion. Abschiedsvorlesung am 25.01.2012, University of Bielefeld.

De Stefani, E. (2014). Establishing joint orientation towards commercial objects in a self-service store: How practices of categorisation matter. In: Nevile, M., Haddington, P., Heinemann, T. and Rauniomaa, M. (eds.), Interacting with objects. Language, materiality, and social activity. Amsterdam/Philadephia: John Benjamins.

Femø Nielsen, Mie (2002) Nå! En skiftemarkør med mange funktioner. Studier i Nordisk 2000–2001 (pp. 51–67). Copenhagen, Denmark: Selskab for Nordisk Filologi.

Goodwin, Charles (1996) Transparent vision. In: Ochs, E., Schegloff, E.A. & Thompson, S. (eds.), Interaction and Grammar. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 370-404.

Keisanen, Tiina (2012) “Uh-oh, we were going there”: Environmentally occasioned noticings of trouble in in-car interaction. Semiotica, 191:1/4, 197-222.

Koivisto, Aino (2015) Displaying now-understanding: The Finnish change-of-state token aa. Discourse Processes.

Nevile, M. (2013). Collaboration in crisis: Pursuing perception through multiple descriptions (how friendly vehicles became damn rocket launchers). In: De Rycker, A. and Mohd Don, Z. (eds.), Discourse and crisis: Critical perspectives. Amsterdam/Philadephia: John Benjamins.

Nishizaka, Aug (2000) Seeing what one sees: Perception, emotion, and activity. Mind, Culture, and Activity, 7:1-2, 105-123.