Coordinating talk and practical action: The case of hair salon service assessments

Authors: Oshima, S. and Streeck, J.

Journal: Pragmatics and Society

Volume: 6

Issue: 4

Pages: 538-564

Publisher: John Benjamins Publishing Company

ISSN: 1878-9714

DOI: 10.1075/ps.6.4.04osh

This paper investigates how talk and practical action are coordinated during one type of activity involving professional communication: the service-­assessment sequence in hair salons. During this activity, a practical inspection of the haircut must be coupled with sequentially produced verbal acts. Our analysis of four examples reveals that there is no fixed relationship between the organization of talk and practical action. Instead, people manipulate this relationship on a moment-by-moment basis, often coordinating the two into a single, integral package, or relying on one stream of action to achieve progress in the other. These findings imply that some multimodal activities that are brought into alignment may have their own, separate and independent procedural logic and sequencing patterns and that these can be brought into play to create or deal with constraints in each other.

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