Sie sind hier: FRIAS School of Language & … Fellows Prof. Dr. Sandra Thompson

Prof. Dr. Sandra Thompson

Universität von Kalifornien
Mai 2012

Vergangene FRIAS-Aufenthalte

  • Mai 2012



Sandra A. Thompson is Professor Emerita of Linguistics at the University of California at Santa Barbara. The question of how grammars of language come to be the way they are is one of the most fundamental questions that linguists can be concerned with. She accordingly places a premium on cross-linguistic as well as language-specific investigations of how grammatical patterns can be seen as emergent from the exigencies of ordinary talk-in-interaction. Her research interests center around the role of discourse, especially everyday embodied conversational interactions, in shaping the morphosyntactic and prosodic regularities that we call ‘grammar’, drawing on interactional data from English, Chinese, and Japanese.

She considers herself fortunate to have had extraordinary opportunities for collaborative research, and is the co-editor of Interaction and Grammar with Elinor Ochs and Emanuel Schegloff, and The Language of Turn and Sequence with Cecilia Ford and Barbara Fox. She is currently working on Building Responsive Actions with Elizabeth Couper-Kuhlen and Barbara Fox.


Publikationen (Auswahl):


  • Hopper, Paul J., and Sandra A. Thompson. 1980. Transitivity in Grammar and Discourse, Language 56.2: 251‑299.
  • Li, Charles N., and Sandra A. Thompson. 1981. Mandarin Chinese: A Functional Reference Grammar, Berkeley: University of California Press. Translated into Chinese as Hanyu Yufa. 1983. Huang Shuan‑fan, trans., Taipei: Crane Publishing Co.
  • Hopper, Paul J., and Sandra A. Thompson. 1984. The Discourse Basis for Lexical Categories in Universal Grammar, Language 60.4: 703‑752. Reprinted in Bas Aarts, David Denison, Evelien Keizer, and Gergana Popova, eds., 2004. Fuzzy Grammar, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 293-308.
  • Mann, William C., and Sandra A. Thompson. 1987. Rhetorical Structure Theory: A Framework for the Analysis of Texts, Papers in Pragmatics 1.1: 79‑105.
  • Thompson, Sandra A. 1988. A Discourse Approach to the Cross‑Linguistic Category 'Adjective'. In John Hawkins, ed., Explaining Language Universals, Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 167‑185; and 1989. Roberta Corrigan, Fred Eckman, and Michael Noonan, eds., Linguistic Categorization, Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 245-265.
  • Thompson, Sandra A., and Anthony J. Mulac. 1991. The Discourse Conditions for the Use of Complementizer that in Conversational English, Journal of Pragmatics 15: 237-51.
  • Thompson, Sandra A., Elinor Ochs, and Emanuel Schegloff, eds. 1996. Interaction and Grammar: Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Ford, Cecilia, and Sandra A. Thompson. 1996. Interactional Units in Conversation: Syntactic, Intonational, and Pragmatic Resources for Turn Management. In Elinor Ochs, Emanuel Schegloff, and Sandra A. Thompson, eds., Interaction and Grammar, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 134-184.
  • Ono Tsuyoshi, Ryoko Suzuki, and Sandra A. Thompson. 2000. The Pragmatic Nature of the So-called Subject Marker ga in Japanese: Evidence from Conversation, Discourse Studies 2.1: 55-84.
  • Thompson, Sandra A. 2002. "Object complements" and Conversation: Towards a Realistic Account. Studies in Language 26.1: 125-164.
  • Thompson, Sandra A., Joseph Sung-Yul Park, and Charles N. Li. 2006. A Reference Grammar of Wappo. Berkeley: University of California Press. (
  • Fox, Barbara A. and Sandra A. Thompson. 2007. Relative clauses in English conversation: relativizers, frequency and the notion of construction. Studies in Language 31.2: 293-326.
  • Mulder, Jean and Sandra A. Thompson. 2008. The grammaticization of but as a final particle in English conversation. In Laury, Ritva, ed., Crosslinguistic studies of clause combining: the multifunctionality of conjunctions, 179-204. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
  • Couper-Kuhlen, Elizabeth and Sandra A. Thompson. 2008. On assessing situations and events in conversation: Extraposition and its relatives. Discourse Studies 10.4:443-467.
  • Ono, Tsuyoshi and Sandra A. Thompson. 2009. Fixedness in Japanese adjectives in conversation: Toward a new understanding of a lexical (‘part-of-speech’) category. In Corrigan, Roberta, Edith Moravcsik, Hamid Ouali, and Kathleen Wheatley, eds., Formulaic language, 117-145. Amsterdam: Benjamins.



Left/right asymmetries in pro-repeats in English conversation
Sandra A. Thompson, with Elizabeth Couper-Kuhlen

This project investigates the syntactic, prosodic, and sequential implications of a specific responsive turn-format in English, the ‘pro-repeat’, as illustrated in this example from our conversational data:

VIV: No ^ last time ^ you were working.

-> SHA: Was I?

Pro-repeat responses are the most frequent way in which everyday conversationalists in our data respond to informings, announcings, and reportings. We use the term ‘pro-repeat’ (Heritage 1984) to refer to responses consisting of [pronoun + auxiliary], grammatically matched to the informing-delivering turn and occurring (a) in either order (i.e., with or without inversion) and (b) with either rising or falling intonation, yielding the 4-way matrix in (1):


  Rising Falling
Interrogative do they? do they.
Declarative they do? they do.

Pro-repeats by syntactic order and intonation

Our project will investigate the systematically different social work done by the choice of each of these four response formats according to (a) where the responder is claiming that the informing has placed her/him on an epistemic gradient from accepting the informing (K+) to challenging the informing (K-); and (b) other stance factors arising in the environment of the informing sequence.

  • Heritage, John. To appear. Epistemics in action: action formation and territories of knowledge.
  • Heritage, John and Geoffrey Raymond. 2005. The Terms of Agreement: Indexing Epistemic Authority and Subordination in Talk-in-Interaction. Social Psychology Quarterly 68:15-38.
  • Heritage, John and Geoffrey Raymond. Forthcoming. Navigating Epistemic Landscapes: Acquiescence, Agency and Resistance in 'Repetitive' Responses to Polar Questions. In J-P de Ruiter, ed. Questions. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Raymond, Geoffrey and John Heritage. 2006. The epistemics of social relations: Owning grandchildren. Language in society 35, 677–705.