Managing several simultaneous lines of talk in Finnish multi-party mobile messaging

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As smartphones have become an integral part of the everyday life of many, we have seen a proliferation of private messaging groups in mobile apps such as WhatsApp. One characteristic of group messaging is the constant presence of multiple simultaneous lines of talk - even more so than in the dyadic mode. In this article, we explore the linguistic and technologically afforded practices of managing simultaneous lines of talk - topics, sequences, larger activities in mobile group messaging. Specifically, we analyze (i) how new lines of talk are initiated next to already existing ones, (ii) how two prior messages are responded to consecutively, and (iii) how non-adjacent messages are responded to. Our data consist of Finnish instant group messaging, and the analysis was conducted using the Conversation Analytic method. Our study complements previous studies on the management of multiple lines of talk in mobile messaging, and more generally, multiactivity in social interaction. In particular, it presents new insights into how practices such as 'and'-prefacing, action-labelling and platform-provided reply-marking are utilized for organizing parallel activities. (c) 2020 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100460
JournalDiscourse, Context & Media
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 6121 Languages
  • Mobile instant messaging
  • Multi-party conversation
  • Conversation Analysis
  • Topic management
  • Sequence management
  • Coherence

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