The interactional dynamics of scaling and contrast in accounts of interpersonal conflict

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11 Scopus citations


This study examines interactional regrading—specifically, scaling and contrast—and its role in the construction and interpretation of accounts of interpersonal conflict. Analysis and discussion center on an extended, multi-part narrative sequence produced by an adult immigrant woman describing her experiences with ethnic and linguistic discrimination in the United States. Drawing on talk-in-interaction perspectives, I examine how teller and recipient produce and orient to implicational scales and contrasts (e.g., ‘transgression’, ‘propriety’, ‘native/non-native English speaker’) and their associated categorial, affective, and moral resonances. These are shown to vary in their granularity (e.g., ‘general-specific’), intensity (e.g., ‘weak-strong’), and other gradable features. Analysis of this talk as it unfolds in ‘real-time’ reveals the dynamics of how regrading functions as a supportive resource to produce versions of events, to recalibrate and challenge transgressive people and actions, and to elicit affiliative recipient responses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)92-110
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Pragmatics
StatePublished - Sep 2019


  • Conflict
  • Contrast
  • Discourse
  • Narrative
  • Regrading
  • Scaling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Artificial Intelligence


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