eesti teaduste
akadeemia kirjastus
The Yearbook of the Estonian Mother Tongue Society cover
The Yearbook of the Estonian Mother Tongue Society
Impact Factor (2022): 0.3
PDF | doi:10.3176/esa59.11

Andriela Rääbis

The linguistic means used in Estonian telephone conversation closings
The article studies closing sections in Estonian everyday telephone conversations. The research questions are as follows: What are the structural patterns of closing? What particular linguistic means are used in pre-closing and leave-taking sequences? Which factors can motivate the use of different social actions and linguistic forms?
The data for the study come from the Corpus of Spoken Estonian of the University of Tartu. A total of 209 everyday telephone calls were analysed.
The closing section consists of three parts:
          the pre-closing sequence,
–         affiliation sequences (e.g. greetings to the family, promises to talk again, expressions of pleasure of the encounter etc.),
–          the leave-taking sequence.
Pre-closings are linguistic expressions that indicate one’s intention to terminate a conversation. They can be implicit or explicit. Implicit pre-closings involve minimal variants (okay, alright), arrangements, sum-ups, well-wishes, regards to other family members and expressions of appreciation. The other categories of expressions make explicit one’s intention to end the call: “nothing else”-type utterances, mentioning external factors such as the reason for having to hang up the phone, references to the interlocutor’s interests (I’ll let you go) etc. Pre-closings are formed as either formulas (e.g. okay, thank you, see you soon, give my love to…) or longer sentences. Minimal tokens are preferred by children and teenagers (okay dominates), family members, and friends; they are typically used in information-seeking dialogues. Longer variants of pre-closings are characteristic of older participants, separately living family members and collateral relatives, and are generally used in ‘keeping-in-touch’ conversations.
Leave-takings are neutral or familiar formulas. Among younger people the dominant expression is ciao, which is hardly used at all by seniors, who appear to use more formal forms even with close friends and relatives.
Future studies could analyse which sequence types and linguistic means are used in affiliation sequences of closing sections.


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