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Title: Police call-takers' first substantive question projects the outcome of the call
Authors: Kent, Alexandra
Antaki, Charles
Keywords: Conversation analysis
Emergency calls
Issue Date: 2019
Publisher: Oxford University Press (OUP) © The Authors
Citation: KENT, A. and ANTAKI, C., 2019. Police call-takers' first substantive question projects the outcome of the call. Applied Linguistics, doi:10.1093/applin/amz002.
Abstract: Police call-takers need to gather as much data as is needed, as quickly as possible, to determine whether and what action should be taken. On analysing 514 calls to a UK centre handling emergency (999) and non-emergency (101) calls, we find that the call-taker’s first substantive question already carries a diagnosis of the merits of the caller's case, and an implication of the call's likely outcome. Such questions come principally in four formats. On a gradient of increasing scepticism, these are: requests for the caller's location (which are treated as indicating that police action will be taken); open-ended requests for further information (treated as neutral); queries of the relevance of the incident or legitimacy of the caller, and reformulations of the caller's reason for calling (both projecting upcoming refusal of police action). We discuss the implications of this gradient for understanding how the calltakers manage their institutional goals. Data are in British English.
Description: This paper is in closed access until 11 March 2021.
Version: Accepted for publication
DOI: 10.1093/applin/amz002
URI: https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/2134/36651
Publisher Link: https://doi.org/10.1093/applin/amz002
ISSN: 0142-6001
Appears in Collections:Closed Access (Communication, Media, Social and Policy Studies)

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