“No no no” and Other Types of Multiple Sayings in Social Interaction


Tanya Stivers, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, PB 310, 6500 AH Nijmegen, The Netherlands; email: Tanya.Stivers@mpi.nl.


Relying on the methodology of conversation analysis, this article examines a practice in ordinary conversation characterized by the resaying of a word, phrase, or sentence. The article shows that multiple sayings such as “No no no” or “Alright alright alright” are systematic in both their positioning relative to the interlocutor's talk and in their function. Specifically, the findings are that multiple sayings are a resource speakers have to display that their turn is addressing an in progress course of action rather than only the just prior utterance. Speakers of multiple sayings communicate their stance that the prior speaker has persisted unnecessarily in the prior course of action and should properly halt course of action.