|Author(s)||Innhwa Park, Jacob Kline|
|Title||Incomplete utterances as critical assessments|
|Tag(s)||EMCA, Assessments, Criticism, Turn construction, Meeting interaction, Sports|
Using video recordings of draft meetings conducted as part of an intramural basketball program as data, this conversation analytic study examines the use of an incomplete utterance in a joint evaluative activity. In particular, we focus on how the participants, volunteer coaches, who meet to draft players for their respective teams, produce a syntactically incomplete utterance as a means to critically assess a player, a non-present third party to the interaction. Analysis reveals that the participants use an incomplete utterance as part of dispreferred design; it allows them to withhold articulating overt criticism of others. By trailing off where the criticism is due, the participants display reluctance to verbalize what is to be said and treat its articulation as delicate. The syntactic structure of the utterance that includes a contrastive conjunction (‘but’) and accompanying embodied actions such as head shakes help them convey a critical stance. We examine the use of incomplete utterances in both agreement and disagreement sequences; the recipients display their unproblematic understanding of the critical assessment and respond by providing their own assessments that either affiliate or disaffiliate with the conveyed critical stance.