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© 2016 Elsevier B.V. Shared understanding is at the heart of social interaction: it is demonstrated and maintained with every turn-at-talk. Still intersubjectivity can on occasion break down, and this can happen for a plethora of reasons. Using conversation analysis, this paper demonstrates three practices that participants in Dutch talk-in-interaction use to repair breakdowns of intersubjectivity. The first practice consists of an oh ja-prefaced declarative. With this practice an interactant conveys that s/he remembers here-and-now some information which s/he thereby treats as relevant for understanding the prior talk. The second practice consists of an oh-prefaced declarative, with which the speaker claims to now understand something s/he earlier did not understand or had misunderstood. Both practices are declarative yes/no-type initiating actions, meaning that confirmation is treated as the relevant next action. Both practices, however, do very distinct actions. With a remembering, an interactant claims independent epistemic access, whereas with doing understanding access is local, and inferred from and dependent on the co-interactant's talk. We compare these two practices to oh-prefaced yes/no-type interrogatives. These too are used to address problems with intersubjectivity, but they claim instead that the prior talk by the interlocutor somehow contradicts the speakers background assumptions.

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of Pragmatics

Publication Date





180 - 192