Research Seminars

Research seminars

Wednesday 5th October 2016

Free indirect reported speech and face in interaction.

Liz Holt (University of Huddersfield, UK) 

The focus of this session is on reported speech in interaction and will involve the opportunity to analyse example. I present a collection of instances of what might be termed 'free indirect' or 'quasi direct' reported speech. They are drawn from informal, two-party telephone calls.  Using a conversation analytic perspective sequential analysis allows for exploration of the design and recurrent environments of this device. It reveals that it regularly occurs following assessments, providing evidence to support them. Comparison with the recurrent sequential positions of direct and indirect reported speech reveals why a form that combines them is particularly useful in this environment. They retain the focus on ongoing activities prevalent in IRS, while providing some insight into what was said, recurrent in DRS. In selecting to use a form that combines elements of direct and indirect speech participants shift footing to create a 'layering of voices' (Günthner, 1999). This is particularly useful here since in a number of instances speakers report critical comments about the current speaker. The design enables speakers to portray what was said while distancing themselves from the stance conveyed in the report.


Günthner, S. (1999). Polyphony and the ‘layering of voices’ in reported dialogues: An analysis of the use of prosodic devices in everyday reported speech. Journal of Pragmatics, 31, 685-708.