Pre-indexing and conversational organization

Wayne A. Beach, David G. Dunning

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Pre-indexing utterances function to set-up, organize, and supply a context for turn-taking sequences in everyday conversation. Four perspectives on pre-indexing phenomena are reviewed (pre-sequences, indirect speech acts, disclaimers, politeness forms) and extend with conversational examples indicative of five speech acts possessing "pre" status: Hints, prompts, teases, conditional disclosures, and small talk. Particular attention is given to the forms and functions pre-indexes might take, responses to pre-indexes, and relationships among speaker intention and hearer inferences as utterances are indexed. As preparatory strategies, pre-indexing methods are shown to be integral to the commonsensical management of identities, understanding, and a sense of social structure in face-to-face interaction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)170-185
Number of pages16
JournalQuarterly Journal of Speech
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1982

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education


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