Who Owns Language in Online Real-Time Interactions?


  • Budimka Uskokovic Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures, The Ohio State University


conversation analysis, epistemic stance, epistemic status, intercultural communication, L2 language education


Research on epistemics in conversation has shown that various difficulties arise in conversation when there is no symmetry in knowledge, and how interlocutors navigate the asymmetries introduced by epistemic status and epistemic stance (cf. Heritage & Raymond, 2005). Yet, there is no empirical study which shows how these asymmetries are navigated between German native speakers (L1 speakers) and language learners (L2 speakers).The data presented in this paper entail examples where language learners of German are more knowledgeable (K+) about the target culture and native speakers are less knowledgeable (K-) about their own culture. It shows that there is an ongoing competition between L1 and L2 speakers, specifically between their status-based authority, which addresses what native speakers should know, given their status (Drew, 1991) and source-based authority, which deals with actual experience (Enfield, 2011).


Betz, E., Taleghani-Nikazm, C., Drake, V., & Golato, A. (2013). Third position repeats in German: The case of repair- and request-for-information sequences. Gesprächsforschung: Online-Zeitschrift zur verbalen Interaktion, 14, 133–166.

Drew. P. (1991). Asymmetries of knowledge in conversational interactions. In I. Marková & K. Foppa (Eds.), Asymmetries in Dialogue (pp. 29–48). Hemel Hempstead, UK: Harvester Wheatsheaf.

Drew, P. (1997). ‘Open’ class repair initiator in response to sequential sources of troubles in conversation. Journal of Pragmatics, 28(1), 69–101.

Drew, P. (2012). Turn design. In J. Sidnell & T. Stivers (Eds.), The Handbook of Conversation Analysis (pp. 131–149). Oxford, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.

Enfield, N. J. (2011). Sources of asymmetry in human interaction: Enchrony, status, knowledge and agency. In T. Stivers, L. Mondada, & J. Steensig (Eds.), The Morality of Knowledge in Conversation (pp. 285–312). New York: Cambridge University Press.

Heritage, J., & Raymond, G. (2005). The terms of agreement: Indexing epistemic authority and subordination in assessment sequences. Social Psychology Quarterly, 68(1), 15–38.

Heritage, J. (2007). Inter subjectivity and progressivity in person (and place) reference. In T. Stivers & N. J. Enfield Person (Eds.), Reference in Interaction: Linguistic, Cultural and Social Perspectives (pp. 255–280). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Heritage, J. (2012a). Epistemics in action: Action formation and territories of knowledge. Research on Language and Social Interaction, 45(1), 1–29.

Heritage, J. (2012b). Epistemics in conversation. In J. Sidnell & T. Stivers (Eds.), The Handbook of Conversation Analysis (pp. 370–394). Oxford, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.

Heritage, J., & Raymond, G. (2012). Navigating epistemic landscapes: Acquiesence, agency and resistance in responses to polar questions. In J. P. de Ruiter (Ed.), Questions: Formal, Functional and Interactional Perspectives (pp. 179–192). Cambridge, UK, Cambridge University Press.

Heritage, J. (2013). Action formation and its epistemic (and other) background. Discourse Studies, 15(5), 551–578.

Jefferson, G., Sacks, H., & Schegloff, E. A. (1977). The preference for self-correction in the organization of repair in conversation. Language, 53(2), 361–382.

Jefferson, G. (1985). An exercise in the transcription and analysis of laughter. In T. A. van Dijk (Ed.), Handbook of Discourse Analysis (pp. 25–34). London: Academic Press.

Kurhila, S. (2001). Correction in talk between native and non-native speaker. Journal of Pragmatics, 33(7), 1083–1110.

Mondada, L. (2018). Multiple temporalities of language and body in interaction: Challenges for transcribing multimodality. Research on Language and Social Interaction, 51(1), 85–106.

Pomerantz, A. (1984). Agreeing and disagreeing with assessments: Some features of preferred/dispreferred turn shapes. In J. Maxwell & Heritage, J. (Eds.), Structures of Social Action: Studies in Conversation Analysis (pp. 57–101). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Raymond, G., & Heritage, J. (2006). The epistemics of social relations: Owning grandchildren. Language in Society, 35, 677–705.

Schegloff, E. A. (1997). Practices and actions: Boundary cases of other-initiated repair. Discourse Processes, 23(3), 499–545.

Svennevig, J. (2003). Echo answers in native/non-native interaction. Pragmatics, 13(2), 285–309.



How to Cite

Uskokovic, B. (2020). Who Owns Language in Online Real-Time Interactions?. Linguistic Forum - A Journal of Linguistics, 2(3), 1-6. Retrieved from http://linguisticforum.com/index.php/ling/article/view/48