Some uses of subject-side assessments

Discourse Studies 19 (5):497-514 (2017)
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We focus on assessments in conversation, paying particular attention to a distinction between object-side and subject-side assessments. O-side assessments are predicated of an object, whereas S-side assessments formulate a disposition of the speaker toward that object. Despite looking somewhat interchangeable, logically, these different ways of making assessments serve different interactional functions. In particular, S-side assessments allow for contrasting assessments of the same object by different persons. They are therefore useful in the management and avoidance of conflict and misalignment in the performance of actions such as compliment receipts, avoiding giving offense and disagreeing. We link the analysis to conversation analytic work on assessments and to discursive psychology’s focus on the everyday management of relations between mental states and an external world.



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