End symposium in Helsinki, 3.-6.8.2016

The Units project held its final symposium at the University of Helsinki August 3rd-5th, 2016. All members of the project were present, in addition to several members of the extended network.

On the first day of our meeting, August 3rd, the project members held an internal meeting to discuss the progress of our publication program, the panel organized by Sandy Thompson and Yoshi Ono for the IPrA conference to be held in Belfast in 2017, for which several members of the project plan to submit abstracts, as well as possibilities for future funding which would allow us to continue our research into units of language and interaction. At the end of the day, Anna Vatanen, Daisuke Yokomori and Tomoko Endo gave a presentation on their joint project on overlapping responses in Finnish, Japanese and Chinese conversation, Ryoko Suzuki reported on corpus building in which the Japanese team has been involved, and Marja-Liisa Helasvuo reported on the progress of the Arkisyn database being developed at the University of Turku.

On August 4th and 5th, we held a symposium featuring talks by project members and members of the extended network. The talks were enthusiastically received and evoked much discussion. At the end of the day on August 5th, a concluding discussion brought up several interesting ideas regarding the nature of units in language and interaction.

After the official program, on August 6th, we took a field trip to the Finnish countryside, where we enjoyed mushroom and berry picking, rowing, taking a sauna, and swimming in a lake. We enjoyed a lunch made from the bounty of the Finnish woods, fields, and waters. A delicious vegetable soup, prepared by Mikko Helasvuo, was the centerpiece of the lunch. We also held a small celebration of the recent birthday of our beloved teacher and mentor, Sandy Thompson.

Below is program for the Helsinki meeting.

The emergence of units in social interaction

Thursday, August 4th

9:00 – 9:15 Welcome, and practical matters – Ritva Laury

Session 1
Chair: Ritva Laury

9:15 – 10:00 Emergent units: What do we need to change in our approach to grammar? Toshi Nakayama, Tokyo University for Foreign Studies
10:15 – 11:00 Imperatives at work. Elizabeth Couper-Kuhlen, University of Helsinki
11:00 – 11:45 The emergence of clauses in Indonesian conversation. Michael Ewing, University of Melbourne.

Session 2
Chair: Marja-Liisa Helasvuo

13:15 – 14:00 Trying to establish NP and noun in Japanese conversation. Yoshi Ono, University of Alberta, Edmonton, and Sandra Thompson, University of California, Santa Barbara
14:00 – 14:45 The NP as a unit in Swedish conversation. Jan Lindström, University of Helsinki
15:00 – 15:45 The Finnish se että as an emerging and emergent construction in Finnish conversation. Karita Suomalainen, University of Turku, Anna Vatanen, University of Helsinki, and Ritva Laury, University of Helsinki.
15:45 – 16:30 Treating something as a unit: Some observations on pragmatic particles in Japanese. Ryoko Suzuki, Keio University.

Friday, August 5th

Session 3
Chair:  Ryoko Suzuki

9:15-10:00 Syntactic-bodily units in interaction. Leelo Keevallik, University of Linköping
10:00 – 10:45 Prosodic, grammatical and bodily-visual ‘response packages’ in response to polar interrogatives in English: are they emergent discourse units? Elise Kärkkäinen, University of Oulu and Sandy Thompson, University of California, Santa Barbara
11:00 – 11:45 “Shrugs” in and as Units of Action. Cecilia E. Ford and Joshua Raclaw, University of Wisconsin, Madison

Session 4
Chair: Toshi Nakayama

13:00 – 13:45 Categorical Statements in Mandarin Conversation: Implications for the Question of Linguistic Units. Hongyin Tao, University of California, Los Angeles
13:45 – 14:30 Negotiating units: Overlapping responses in Finnish, Japanese and Mandarin conversation. Anna Vatanen, University of Helsinki, Daisuke Yokomori, Kyushu University, and Tomoko Endo, Tsukuba University
14:45 – 15:30 Co-constructions as emergent units. Marja-Liisa Helasvuo and Mikael Varjo, University of Turku
15:30 – 16:15 The problem with x. Barbara Fox, University of Colorado, Boulder, and Trine Heinemann, University of Helsinki.
16:15 – 17.00 End discussion

IMG_20160804_094045 Ryhmäkuva yksikkösympasta


Meetings in Tokyo, Okinawa and congress in Shanghai, March 8-20, 2016

The Units project members, as well as several members of the extended research network met at Keio University in Yokohama and in Naha, Okinawa in March. The program involved a series of meetings, including a project business meeting and presentations on March 11th, an international symposium on March 12th, and a roundtable meeting on March 13th, in which younger Japanese scholars met with members of the Units project to discuss their own research, as well as a symposium on spoken corpora involving Japanese and Finnish scholars. Below are programs for the Yokohama meeting.

3/11 (Friday)
Project Meeting, Data Session and Opening Talk

13:00-14:00 Opening and Project meeting

14:20-15:45 Vatanen/Endo/Yokomori
• Data Session on cross-linguistic similarities and differences of overlap from structural and interactional points of view

16:00-17:30 Kick-off Talk by Sandy Thompson
“The symbiotic grammar of ‘first’ and ‘second’ actions in conversational adjacency pairs”

3/12 (Saturday)
International Symposium on the Noun Phrase as a Unit of Linguistic Structure and Interaction (Open to public)

10:00-10:15 Opening by Ryoko Suzuki (Keio University)
10:15-10:30 Toshihide Nakayama (Tokyo University of Foreign Studies): “Noun Phrases in discourse: why and how might they be interesting?”
10:30-11:15 Michael Carter Ewing (University of Melbourne): “Noun Phrases in Indonesian Conversation: Free, Restrained and In-Between”
11:25-12:10 Marja-Liisa Helasvuo (University of Turku): “Argument NPs vs. Free NPs in Finnish: same or different?”
13:30-14:15 Sandra A. Thompson (UC Santa Barbara) and Tsuyoshi Ono (University of Alberta): “A Profile of the “NP” in Japanese conversation”
14:15-15:00 Hongyin Tao (UCLA): “NPs that are not alone: With implications for understanding patterns of conversation grammar”
15:15-16:00 Toshihide Nakayama (Tokyo University of Foreign Studies): “Noun Phrases in Nuuchahnulth: their place in grammar and in discourse”
16:00-16:45 Anna Vatanen and Ritva Laury (University of Helsinki): “The role of the NP in interaction: Projecting turns-in-progress in Finnish conversation”
16:55-17:40 Discussion

3/13 (Sunday)

10:00-11:30 Roundtable:
Goals and Methods of Linguistic Research Based on Spoken Data
Graduate students and researchers working on spoken discourse in Japan shared their research topics/questions and a discourse data with researchers from overseas.

Interactional Symposium on Building and Using Spoken Corpora: Experience in Japan and Finland
13:00 Opening remarks by Ryoko Suzuki (Keio University)
13:05-13:40 Yasuharu Den (Chiba University): “Annotation of utterance-units in Japanese conversation”
13:40-14:10 Hanae Koiso (NINJAL): “Towards the Construction of a Corpus of Japanese Everyday Conversations”
14:10-14:40 Takehiko Maruyama (NINJAL): “Diachronic Corpus of Spoken Japanese: Retrospect and Prospect”
15:00-15:30 Ritva Laury (University of Helsinki): Spoken Corpora in Finnish
15:30-16:00 Marja-Liisa Helasvuo (University of Turku): ”Building a morphosyntactically coded corpus of conversational Finnish”

After Yokohama, we travelled to Naha, Okinawa, where we met with experts on Ryukyuan languages. We heard a presentation by professor Shigehisa Karimata on preservation of these endangered languages, and also met with Nobutaka Takara, a linguist and a native speaker of a Ryukyuan language.

We then travelled to Shanghai to participate in the 2nd International Conference on Interactional Linguistics and Chinese Language Studies at Shanghai Normal University, which took place March 18th-20th, and where we were invited participants.

Friday, March 18, 2016: Plenary talks
Host: Tao Hongyin(University of California at Los Angeles)
10:10-10:50 Sandra A. THOMPSON(University of California at Santa Barbara)
10:50-11:30 Ritva Hannele Laury, Marja-Liisa Helasvuo(University of Helsinki, University of Turku)
11:30-12:10 LUKE Kang Kwong(Nanyang Technological University)

Host: LUKE Kang Kwong(Nanyang Technological University)
14:00-14:40 Tao Hongyin(University of California at Los Angeles)
14:40-15:20 Michael EWING(University of Melbourne)
15:40-16:20 Jonathan GINZBURG(University Paris Diderot – Paris 7)
16:20-17:00 Tao Liang(Ohio University)

Saturday, March 19: The Panels
(Chinese Panels 1-7 omitted)
Panel 8 Time:16:10-18:30
Convener:Errong Lin(林尔嵘) Ying Yang(杨颖)

  • Di Fang (方迪) (Graduate School, Chinese Academy of Social Science): “The Negation Tendency of Assessment Construction and Motivation of Its Formation”
  • Errong Lin (林尔嵘) (Nanyang Technological University): ”从互动交际的角度看“易位句”的语法化轨迹”
  • Andrea Scibetta (University for Foreigners of Siena,Italy): “Conversation analysis in classroom: a corpus-based study on Chinese learners of L2 Italian”
  • Anna Vatanen (University of Helsinki): ”Responding in overlap, Agency, epistemicity and social action in conversation”
  • Kerry Sluchinski (University of Alberta): “The Usage of Third-Person Pronoun ta in Chinese Social Media”
  • Chen WANG (Queen Mary University of London): “The Event Structure of le in Mandarin: Distinguishing Sentence-final from Word-final”
  • Xinyang Xie (谢心阳)(Graduate School, Chinese Academy of Social Science): “The Typical Responses of Yes-no Questions and Wh-questions in Chinese Everyday Conversation”
  • Ying Yang (杨颖) (University of California at Los Angeles): “Responding with the nonreferential demonstrative: On the turn-initial na ‘that’ in Mandarin conversation”
  • Linda Lam Ho (Macao Polytechnic Institute): “Identity and English Classroom Conversation at a University in Macao”

Shanghai conference participants In Suzhou Helasvuo and Laury talk in Shanghai 20160313_corpussympo_Hiyoshi


The 14th International Pragmatics Conference in Antwerp, Belgium, July 26-31, 2015

The Units project participated in the International Pragmatics Association’s Antwerp meeting by organizing a panel and having two internal meetings. In addition, several members of the Units project gave papers in other panels.

The panel  on Fixed expressions as units was organized by Marja-Liisa Helasvuo and Ryoko Suzuki and took place on Thursday, July 30th.  The panel occupied two sessions and included eight presentations. Sandy Thompson acted as discussant for both sessions.

Session 1
Ann Weatherall & Leelo Keevallik, ’I understand’-prefaced formulations of the other

Daisuke Yokomori & Tomoko Endo, Displaying ‘thinking-in-progress’: The case of nandaroo in Japanese talk-in-interaction

Marja-Liisa Helasvuo, Ritva Laury & Mari Nikonen, Thinking in Finnish: Fixed expressions and the verb ajatella “think” in Finnish conversation

Hongyin Tao, Anyway You Slice It, ‘under the Influence’ Is No ‘Quality Time’: Pragmatic Correlates of Diverse Types of Formulaic Expressions

Session 2
Michael Ewing, Fixed expressions with tahu ‘know’ in Indonesian conversation: prefabs to open choice

Anna Vatanen, Epistemic incongruity in conversation: mä tiedän ‘I know’ responses in Finnish

Tsuyoshi Ono, Toshihide Nakayama & Ryoko Suzuki, Fixedness and unithood in Miyako and Japanese conversation: An exploration into the emergence of structure and interaction

Etsuko Yoshida, A cross-linguistic variation of fixedness of lone if-conditional clauses in spoken discourse

The following presentations were also given by the Units project participants at the conference:

Sandra A. Thompson & Tsuyoshi Ono, A usage-based approach to ‘negative scope’: prosody, grammar, cognition, processing, and fixedness, in the panel organized by Mark Dingemanse & Giovanni Rossi on the topic of Pragmatic typology: new methods, concepts and findings in the comparative study of language in use

Ryoko Suzuki & Sandra A. Thompson, Prosody, grammar, and clause combining: so in American English, and  Jan Lindström & Ritva Laury, The interactional emergence of if-requests: constructions, trajectories, and sequences of actions, both in the panel organized by Yael Maschler & Simona Pekarek Doehler, Emergent grammar and praxeological ecologies: Clause-combining and the organization of turns at talk

Tomoko Endo, Independent experience, empathy and affiliation: ah in Japanese talk-in-interaction in the panel organized by Trine Heinemann & Aino Koivisto, Indicating a change-of-state in conversation: cross-linguistic explorations

In addition, Marja-Liisa Helasvuo was a participant in the Roundtable discussion Transcribing, glossing and translating non-English transcripts of social interaction, organized by Maria Egbert and Pirjo Nikanen

The Units project members also held two internal meetings in Antwerp, one of July 28th and the other on July 30th, to discuss the next project meeting to be held in Japan in March 2016, and our possible participation in the upcoming conference on Interactional Linguistics and Chinese Studies to be held in Shanghai, both in March 2016, and the final meeting of the project, to be held in August 2016. In addition, the group discussed plans for upcoming publications, including the progress of the special issue on units offered to Studies in Language, edited by Yoshi Ono, Ryoko Suzuki and Ritva Laury, and the special issue on responsive turns offered to the Journal of Pragmatics and edited by Marja-Liisa Helasvuo, Tomoko Endo and Elise Kärkkäinen, and the prospect of a volume on fixed expressions, to be offered to John Benjamins, possibly for the series Studies in Language and Social Interaction. Yoshi Ono offered to work as editor of this volume, possibly together with Ritva Laury.


Turku meeting, March 6-9, 2015

The Turku project meeting and kuva2symposium were organized by Marja-Liisa Helasvuo. The event consisted of two days of internal discussions and a two-day symposium on the theme of Units in responsive turns.

On March 6th and 9th the project members discussed their current research. The Japan team gave a presentation on the conversational databases available and under construction in Japan, including data collection by the Japan team members.  Marja-Liisa Helasvuo and her team reported on the status of the Arkisyn conversational database and gave a demonstration of the new interface. Other topics covered were ongoing and future comparative joint projects by the project participants, future project meetings and their timing and aims, as well as future grant applications and a planned volume which will be offered for publication to the Journal of Pragmatics and edited by Marja-Liisa Helasvuo, Tomoko Endo and Elise Kärkkäinen.

The symposium on Units in responsive turns took place on March 7-8 at Fennicum (University of Turku). Both project members and several invited guests from the universities of Helsinki, Linköping, Neuchâtel and Oulu  gave talks on the theme of the symposium. The discussion after the talks was lively. The symposium also included an enjoyable social program.

Saturday, March 7
10:00-­10:15  Marja­‐Liisa Helasvuo: Welcome and practicalities
10:15-­11:00  Tsuyoshi Ono & Ryoko Suzuki: Existential verbs aru and iru as reactive tokens: A study of formulaicity in Japanese conversation
11:00–11:45  Ritva Laury: Fixed units as responses
11:45–12:30  Anna Vatanen: Epistemic incongruity in conversation: mä tiedän ‘I know’ responses in Finnish
14:30-­15:15  Leelo Keevallik & Auli  Hakulinen: Unit­‐initial küll/kyl(lä) in Estonian and Finnish
15:30-­16:00  Elizabeth Couper-­Kuhlen: Grammar and everyday talk: Building responsive actions
16:00–17:00  Discussion

Sunday, March 8
9:00–9:45   Tomoko Endo: Change­‐of­‐state tokens a and aa in Japanese
9:45–10:30  Aino Koivisto: Finnish aijaa as a stand-alone response and as a part of a multi-unit turn
10:45–11.30  Daisuke Yokomori, Eiko Yasui & Are Hajikano: Registering a chunk of information with a stance: A study of Ne­‐marked other­‐repetitions in Japanese talk-in­‐interaction
11:30–12:00  Evelyne Pochon­‐Berger: Grammar and Interaction: A study of storytelling sequencing practices in French conversations
13:30-­14:15  Marja-­Liisa Helasvuo & Nobufumi Inaba: Units in responsive position: Answers to polar questions in Old Finnish
14:15–15:00  Elise Kärkkäinen: To what extent do language and bodily resources form an action unit in responses to polar interrogatives?
15:00–16:00 Concluding discussion



Tokyo meeting, November 2014

The Japanese and Finnish members of the project and several members of the extended research network met at the Yokohama campus of Keio University and at the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies.

At Keio, we had a two-day internal workshop on November 22nd and 23rd with presentations by professors Suzuki, Laury, Nakayama and Ono as well as Dr. Endo on units in, respectively, Japanese, Finnish, Nuuchahnulth, Miayako and Mandarin conversation, and intense discussions.

In addition, jointly with the Research Institute for the Languages and Cultures  of Asia and Africa at the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, the Units project organized an open international workshop with the theme Tight and Loose Grammar, which took place on November 29-30 at TUFS.  Below is the program for the workshop, attended by researchers and visitors from ILCAA and other Japanese universities, in addition to the project members and members of the extended research network.  This event was preceded by an invited lecture by prof. Laury on November 28th on the topic of insubordinate ’if’ clauses in Finnish and Swedish, presenting joint research with prof. Jan Lindström.

November 29th
10:00-10:15     Opening
10:15-11:10     Toshihide NAKAYAMA (ILCAA, Tokyo U of Foreign Studies): “An exploration of grammatical tightness: some observations from Nuuchahnulth narrative data”
11:15-12:10     Robert ENGLEBRETSON (Rice University): “Clause-final ‘too’ and ‘either’ in American English conversation”
13:30-14:25     Anna VATANEN (University of Helsinki): “Turn transitions, projectability and “tight” grammatical constructions”
14:30-15:25     Ryoko SUZUKI (ILCAA Joint Researcher, Keio Universty) & Sandra A. THOMPSON (ILCAA Joint Researcher, University of California, Santa Barbara): “Prosody, grammar, and clause combining: so in American English”
15:45-16:40     Mari NIKONEN (University of Turku): “Prosodic features of interrogative possessive constructions in native and non-native Finnish”
16:45-17:45     Discussion

November 30th
13:00-13:55     Michael EWING (University of Melbourne): “Predicate Plus: A usage-based conceptualisation of grammatical structure in Indonesian conversation”
14:00-14:55     Päivi Helena HAKAMÄKI and Karita Mikaela SUOMALAINEN (University of Helsinki): “The clause and its role as an interactional unit in Finnish conversations – perspectives on tightness and looseness”
15:05-16:00     Marja-Liisa HELASVUO (University of Turku), Ritva LAURY (University of Helsinki), and Mari NIKONEN (University of Turku): “Formulaicity and prosodic nature of ‘remember’ and ‘know’ in Finnish conversation”
16:25-17:45     General Discussion




Kick-off workshop and symposium in Helsinki. September 8-12, 2014

The Finnish and Japanese teams and several members of the extended research network met in Helsinki for a planning workshop which included a one-day visit to the University of Turku and culminated in a two-day symposium with the theme Matches and mismatches of units in interaction. The program for the symposium is below.

Thursday, September 11th
9:15-9:30       Welcome and practicalities – Ritva Laury
9:30-10:30     Toshihide Nakayama and Kumiko Nakayama: “Toward an emergent view of unit”
10:30-11:30   Marja-Liisa Helasvuo & Mari Nikonen: “Free NPs as units in Finnish interaction: syntactic, sequential and prosodic features.”
13:00-14:00   Michael C. Ewing: “Clauses and prosody in conversational Indonesian”
14:00-15:00   Ryoko Suzuki and Sandra A. Thompson: “Does Conversational Japanese have ‘Adverbial Clauses’?”
15:30-16:30   Tsuyoshi Ono and Toshihide Nakayama: “Increment, collaborative finish, zero, and unithood in Japanese”
16:30-17:00   General discussion

Friday, September 12th
9:30-10:30     Anna Vatanen: “Overlapping responses, social action and participants’ orientation to units of talk”
10:30-11:30   Daisuke Yokomori and Tomoko Endo: “Interrogative sentences as fillers in constructing a turn-at-talk: a case of Japanese nan daroo”
13:00-14:00   Hongyin Tao: “List Constructions and the Nature of Discourse Units”
14:00-15:00   Pentti Haddington, Tiina Keisanen and Elise Kärkkäinen: “When do bodily behavior and talk form a unit?”
15:30-16:30   Ritva Laury: “About ‘reference’ and its relationship to linguistic forms and bodily behavior – matches and mismatches”
16:30-17:00   General discussion

At the University of Turku, professor Marja-Liisa Helasvuo and her team introduced the Arkisyn project, a morphosyntactically coded database of Finnish conversation. The two-day workshop held in Helsinki included planning for future events, including an upcoming symposium at TUFS in Tokyo on the topic of Tight and Loose Syntax (November 2014), as well as the panel  which professors Helasvuo and Suzuki have proposed for the International Pragmatics Conference to be held in Antwerp (July 2015). One session was devoted to our future funding prospects.

In addition, our project, in collaboration with the Center of Excellence in Research on Intersubjectivity in Interaction, organized an open seminar on the topic of corpus building and maintenance. This event was well attended by researchers from the University of Helsinki, the Institute for the Languages of Finland, and several other foreign and domestic universities.

DSCF1570DSCF1560Department of Finnish, Finno-Ugrian and Scandinavian Studies Department of Finnish, Finno-Ugrian and Scandinavian Studies Department of Finnish, Finno-Ugrian and Scandinavian Studies Department of Finnish, Finno-Ugrian and Scandinavian Studies Department of Finnish, Finno-Ugrian and Scandinavian Studies Department of Finnish, Finno-Ugrian and Scandinavian Studies