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Endearment and address terms in family life: Children’s and parents’ directives in Italian and Swedish dinnertime interaction
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Romance Studies and Classics.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9290-4167
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Child and Youth Studies.
2017 (English)In: Journal of Pragmatics, ISSN 0378-2166, E-ISSN 1879-1387, Vol. 109, 82-94 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The focus of this study is on the use of endearment terms and affective resources (including other address terms, as well as nonverbal calibration) in requests sequences in inter-generational interaction, expanding prior work on requests as social action. This study documents verbal and embodied practices in dinnertime talk (30 hours of video) deployed by both parents and children in order to get things done. The analyses show ways in which endearment terms were recurrently deployed in request sequences, marking both trouble and social intimacy. Moreover, the data show that endearment terms were exclusively deployed by the parents, but not by their children. The adults and children drew on different repertoires of affective resources: the children deployed an array of nonverbal and nonvocal means to display their affective stances. In addition, the parents resorted to endearment terms, nicknames, and diminutives, as lexical devices invoking intimate bonds in a context where social solidarity might be at stake. Finally, while children’s requests target an immediate action concerning food and food-related activities rooted in the here and now of the interaction, parental requests can be often analyzed as redressive actions, prompted by the child’s (troublesome) behavior.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. Vol. 109, 82-94 p.
Keyword [en]
Directives, Address terms, Endearment, Alignment, Entitlement
National Category
Specific Languages Social Anthropology
Research subject
Italian
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-137858DOI: 10.1016/j.pragma.2016.12.014ISI: 000395353100006OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-137858DiVA: diva2:1064639
Projects
CELF, UCLA Center on Everyday Lives of Families
Available from: 2017-01-12 Created: 2017-01-12 Last updated: 2017-05-02Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. L’ordine sociale a tavola: L’interazione tra genitori e figli in famiglie italiane e svedesi
Open this publication in new window or tab >>L’ordine sociale a tavola: L’interazione tra genitori e figli in famiglie italiane e svedesi
2017 (Italian)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[en]
The social order at the dinner table : The interaction between parents and children in Italian and Swedish families
Abstract [en]

This dissertation examines mealtime conversations between parents and children in eight Swedish and eight Italian middle class, dual-earner households, exploring the ways in which children are engaged in the cooperative construction of social order. The study is part of an international project (cf. Aronsson & Pontecorvo, 2002), coordinated with prior work in the US (cf. Ochs & Kremer-Sadlik, 2013).

Study I explores how children’s accounts work during family dinner conversations. So called proto-accounts (laments, multiple repeats, want-statements) and varied verbal accounts are analyzed in relation to age class or prior language socialization experiences.

Study II focuses on the use of endearment terms in directive sequences between parents and children. The findings show an asymmetrical distribution of endearment terms, in that only parents make use of them when interactional problems – children’s non-compliance with parental requests in particular – arise.  

Study III examines the ways in which Italian parents deploy the discourse marker dai (‘come on’) in directive sequences. This is a flexible linguistic resource that is employed by parents as a cajoling token when children fail to comply with parental requests, hindering the advancement of the in-progress activity.

This thesis describes family mealtimes as parent-directed activities where sociality, morality and local understandings of the world (Ochs & Shohet, 2006) are collaboratively re-created and enacted. This confirms the crucial role of everyday family meals as rich cultural sites (Ochs & Shohet, 2006) for reasserting moral attitudes of the family: participants learn moment by moment how to be competent actors that are able to choose between alternative courses of action and that can therefore be held accountable for their actions (Bergmann, 1998: 284). From this point of view, a dinner is paradigmatic of the deep moral sense that permeates the making of a family.     

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Romance Studies and Classics, Stockholm University, 2017. 92 p.
Series
Forskningsrapporter / Stockholms universitet, Institutionen för franska och italienska: cahiers de la recherche, ISSN 1654-1294 ; 57
Keyword
Italian, Swedish, talk-in-interaction, mealtime interaction, socialization, directives, social order, morality, agency
National Category
Languages and Literature Specific Languages Sociology Social Anthropology
Research subject
Italian
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-139068 (URN)978-91-7649-678-7 (ISBN)978-91-7649-679-4 (ISBN)
Public defence
2017-03-24, Högbomsalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 12, Stockholm, 10:00 (Italian)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2017-03-01 Created: 2017-02-02 Last updated: 2017-02-16Bibliographically approved

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