Insertion Concessive

An interactional practice as a discourse grammatical construction

  • Jan Lindström
  • Anne-Marie Londen


Concessive practices are a recurrent phenomenon in conversation. This paper investigates one variant of them: tripartite sequences which involve a first assertion, an inserted concession, and a reassertion of the original standpoint. This interactional practice may be produced by one speaker only or in a dialogue with another participant whose contribution triggers a conceding move from the speaker. The argument is made that the practice in question, Insertion Concessive, has such distinct sequential and formal properties that they warrant an account of the practice as a discourse grammatical construction. The tripartite sequences follow recurrent polarity and subjectivity patterns and are operated with a finite set of linguistic markers which signal concession (in the conceding part) and contrast (in the reasserting part). The study relates directly to interactional approaches to Construction Grammar, accounting for formal and semantic regularities which go beyond the limits of a single sentence. The data is drawn from corpora of everyday and institutional conversations in Swedish.