Responding at a higher level: Activity progressivity in calls for service

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24 Citations (Scopus)


In a set of calls to an airline service in which agents ask for customers' identifying information, some customers respond by providing different, unrequested information. This paper examines these non-direct, nonconforming responses and shows that those customers anticipate hierarchical institution-specific stages in the activity and respond to the higher-level purpose for which the question was produced. Customers thereby promote the progress of the larger activity in an institutionally relevant way. This suggests that participants can depart from type-conformity with an orientation to activity progressivity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)904-917
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Pragmatics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Feb

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The writing of this paper was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea Grant funded by the Korean Government (KRF2009-361-A00027). I would like to thank two anonymous reviewers, Paul Drew, and especially John Heritage for their insightful comments on earlier drafts.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Artificial Intelligence


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