ForumVol. 18, No. 1 (2018)

But-prefacing for Refocusing in Public Questioning and Answering

Ann Tai Choe1,

Elizabeth Reddington2

1 University of Hawai`i at Mānoa,
2 Teachers College, Columbia University


In this paper, we focus on a special use of but in interactions in which those doing the questioning and answering are accountable for producing talk that is relevant to a third party—an overhearing audience. Specifically, we aim to show how participants leverage the contrastive power of but in turn-initial position to refocus following a deviation from the main course of action.