Lit Lang Library
Lit Lang Library
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Linguistics Student Organization -- Prof. Scott Kiesling, Univ. of Pittsburgh: "Specifying Stance: Affect, Alignmnet and Investment in Interaction"
Abstract -- Stance has been used increasingly as an important theoretical and analytical term in the study of language and social interaction. Most importantly, it has been deployed as a way to make connections between macro-level social identities and ideologies and what actually happens when people are talking to each other face to face. For all of this analytical success and fervor, stance is still a remarkably contested concept; it is still not clear that all researchers use the term in a similar way, and especially whether they agree on the linguistic resources a speaker can use to make a stance claim. In this paper I propose three main axes of stance and some linguistic resources for indicating these axes. While keeping in mind that stances are always negotiated and interactionally created in context, I propose three main axes: Alignment, affect, and investment. In order to demonstrate how these axes work, I focus on how the word 'just' does alignment work in two conversations, considering how aspects of its contexts of use combine with its particular meaning and indexicalities to assert stance. I show how the single word modifies the three axes to differing degrees, and propose a heuristic for stance analysis, and how the phrase "I'm just sayin'" has become a conventionalized marker of investment. In addition, I provide an example of how these axes can be used to code covnersations for stance, and the limits of quantitative variationist analysis for understanding how social meaning in language is created.