Mobile phone call openings: tailoring answers to personalized summonses

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1 ARTICLE 339 Mobile phone call openings: tailoring answers to personalized summonses ILKKA ARMINEN AND MINNA LEINONEN UNIVERSITY OF TAMPERE, FINLAND Discourse Studies Copyright 2006 SAGE Publications. (London, Thousand Oaks, CA and New Delhi) Vol 8(3): / ABSTRACT Conversation analytical (CA) methodology was used to specify the new opening practices in Finnish mobile call openings, which differ systematically from Finnish landline call openings. Since the responses to a mobile call orient to the summons identifying the caller, answers have changed and diversified. A known caller is greeted. The self-identification opening that was canonical in Finnish landline calls is mainly used for answering unknown callers, while channel-opener openings involve orientation to ongoing mutual business between the speakers. Some of these changes reflect real-time coordination of the social action that the mobility of mobile phones enables. In all, the adoption of new ways of answering a call shows that people orient themselves to affordances that new technologies allow them. Mobile phone communication opens a salient new area both for the analysis of talk-ininteraction itself and also for understanding communicative behaviour in the era of ubiquitous information technology. KEY WORDS: affordances, call opening, conversation analysis, mobile phone calls, recipient-design, telephone calls In this article, we introduce a new pattern for initiating conversation on a mobile phone. Mobile phone talk is an ideal object for conversation analytical (CA) methodology as all other dimensions of communication except voice are naturally excluded. Indeed, much CA work has been based on (landline) telephone calls. The findings on the openings of landline telephone conversations (including Schegloff, 1968, 1979, 1986, 2002; Houtkoop- Steenstra, 1991; Hopper, 1992; Hakulinen, 1993; Lindström, 1994; ten Have, 2002) can be adopted as a benchmark by which new emerging forms of mobile phone conversation can be identified, specified, and characterized. The available findings and a Finnish dataset on landline telephone openings are utilized to

2 340 Discourse Studies 8(3) TABLE 1. Types of answers to summonses (first turns) in Finnish call openings Type Landline calls (N=107) % Mobile calls (N=63) % Self-presentations Greetings Channel openers Try-marked openings introduce the Finnish characteristics of call openings. 1 Preliminary findings, summarized in Table 1, suggest that openings in landline and mobile telephone conversations are systematically different. Finnish landline call openings resemble Dutch ones. Since they both start with their initial self-presentation (Houtkoop-Steenstra, 1991; ten Have, 2002), they differ from the canonical US call openings (Schegloff, 1968, 1979, 1986). The Finnish calls were begun with a self-identification as an answer to a summons; that is, the telephone ring calling for attention. The caller mainly reciprocated with the answerer by identifying her/himself, unless the caller performed an intimacy work by allowing the answerer to recognize her/him by voice. This pattern, to be discussed more in detail, was robust and widespread in Finland (see Hakulinen, 1993). The Finnish mobile call openings differ significantly from Finnish landline call openings. Remarkably, the answerers have adopted a new opening practice, a greeting response to the summons. This emerging new type of opening stands for a new type of a summons answer sequence, in which the answerer orients to a personalized summons that conveys information about who is calling. Correspondingly, the responses to the phone have diversified, as they are no longer answers to a neutral summons. The variability of openings, thus, has a systematic basis that will be discussed. Moreover, summonses have also become variable, as calls from unknown or silent numbers only inform the answerer about the unidentified or secret number, and do not reveal who is calling. Hence, the initial self-identification openings have also persisted, but mainly only in openings to unknown callers. In all, the summons answer sequence has undergone a number of substantial changes. The answers to a summons have been tailored through recipientdesign, unlike the analogue telephone system, when the summonses were uniform. The new tailored summons answer sequence is a phenomenon linked to the generic properties of digital (mobile) phone technology, 2 and is not limited to Finnish data (see also Weilenmann, 2003; Laursen, in prep.). Finally, the tailoring and recipient design of answers to a new type of summons make the adaptation process to new forms of technology apparent. People actively construct their meanings rather than passively adjusting to new forms of

3 Arminen and Leinonen: Mobile phone call openings 341 technology; nevertheless, the construction of meaning for technologies is bound to their affordances, that is, the opportunities the technology offers for action that are unique to the technology concerned (Gibson, 1979; Raudaskoski, 2003). The development of technology also has an impact on culture, which is realized through encounters between people whose interactions are facilitated by the form of technology itself. In this article, we will discuss the key differences between landline and mobile call openings, and examine the systematic basis for variation in the latter. We claim that this variability derives mainly from the tailoring of openings to different summonses. The observable changes in the phone opening sequence stand for the interactional work of parties in a new, automated environment in which digitalized technology conveys identifying information about the callers. Mobile talk is symptomatic of an increasing amount of omnipresent technology that enables the emergence of new forms of social encounter. Mobile communication opens a salient new area both for the analysis of talk-ininteraction itself as well as for understanding the emerging new forms of communicative behaviour in the era of ubiquitous information technology. Data Our study is based on 63 Finnish mobile phone conversations recorded in summer 2002 (in addition, the opening in six calls was only partially recorded). The mobile phone used by the study subjects with their permission was the recording device. Consequently, the other party may have talked on a landline phone (indeed, did so in a number of cases). The fact that material covers both mobile-to-mobile and landline-to-mobile or mobile-to-landline conversations has to be taken into consideration, as there tend to be differences between the types of call. For a set of historical comparative materials, we have 107 Finnish landline-to-landline telephone calls from the 1980s and 1990s. 3 Of these, 53 had been transcribed and were analysed in detail, the rest of the dataset being utilized to test and check the findings (see Appendix for details of study subjects and on the comparability of landline and mobile call samples). The transcriptions were based on CA conventions (see Atkinson and Heritage, 1984). The mobile data were transcribed by Minna Leinonen. Landline call openings in Finland and elsewhere To provide a context for the emergence of mobile opening practices in the late 1990s, we will first detail the practices of canonical Finnish landline call openings in the era when the answerer could not recognize the caller in advance (i.e. the phone technology until the early 1990s). The canonical call opening included an exchange of self-identifications, then an exchange of greetings, followed by a topic initiation, an apology or mitä kuuluu? [ how-are-you? ] question (see extracts 1 and 2).

4 342 Discourse Studies 8(3) (1) SG098A_03(R=N;K C=N;K) [Helsinki University, Finnish Department Data archive] 1 R: (0.5) Mäki:>sellä< ((the ending is said quickly)) (0.5) at Mäki:>nen< ((at + familyname)) 4 2 C: n:o: M:irja tässä hei..hh[hh.hh [ ] 5 Mi:rja here hi:..hh[hh.hh 3 R: [no $he:ih$= [[] $hi::h$= 4 C: =#e# no ku- #ö# kuule tuota: mmh ö m- meinasin =#e# [] li- #uh# listen e:rm mmh uh m- I meant 5 kyssyy paria asiaa ku taas >neuvoa tartte: to ask couple of things as again >I nee:d advice The Finnish landline calls were generally initiated with a self-identification, like Dutch or Swedish calls (Houtkoop-Steenstra, 1991; Lindström, 1994; ten Have, 2002). The form of self-identification varied from the first or family name only to the whole name. A household identification, as above, was also commonly used. In our dataset only three out of 107 calls were begun with an item other than self-identification, both due to local circumstances ( haloo said because of a technical problem (in two calls), or niin as the opening of a returned call, which showed the party s orientation to return immediately to business (for the Finnish speech particle niin, see Sorjonen, 2001). Self-identification also predominates in the second turn. As in line 2 above, the conventionalized format of the second turn in the Finnish landline calls includes the speech particle [no] + selfidentification + greeting. 6 This format or its slight variant (as in extract 2) was used in 70 calls out of 107 in our data set. After the return of the greeting (line 3), a topic initiation follows (as above) unless a pre-topic apology (sorry that I m calling late/early, etc.) or a how are you? question is pursued. In particular, the conventionalized second turn of the Finnish telephone call openings is interesting in that it fulfils three functions. First, it claims recognition. In extract 1, the household identification at [family name] does not actually identify the individual speaking, but the caller s turn at line 2 indicates that the answerer s identity is unproblematic for her as she appears to have recognized which of the household members is on the phone. Second, the selfidentification is done immediately after the speech particle no and before the greeting, which does not allow the other party, even in principle, to try to identify the speaker. 7 This format means that self-identification is preferred 8 over the other recognition in the Finnish calls. For instance, in extract 1 the caller recognizes the identity of the speaker from the household identification. Correspondingly, it is possible that the caller, who could distinguish the speaker from other household members, is identifiable to the answerer. However, the conventionalized Finnish format for the second turn in the landline telephone call openings does not allow voice recognition. Hakulinen (1993) points out that the callers typically identified themselves even in calls between intimates or

5 Arminen and Leinonen: Mobile phone call openings 343 relatives. Third, the greeting is performed. The return greeting in the next turn completes the Finnish landline pre-topical opening sequence and opens the anchor position 9 for the caller to mention the reason for the call. The turn-initial speech particle no is extremely common in the Finnish landline telephone call openings, in particular in the second turn, but also in the third and the fourth turn, as in extract According to Hakulinen (1993), almost two-thirds of the callers first turns included no. This particle has both responsive and projective functions. As in extract 1, previous studies suggest that no occurs only in the responsive turns; that is, only in the second position turns (Carlson, 1984; Raevaara, 1989; Sorjonen, 2002). 11 No also has a projective function in initiating a shift in activity or topic. At line 2, no projects a shift from recognition to a self-identification and a greeting. At line 3, the return greeting preceded by no both returns a greeting and displays the answerer s recognition of the caller. At line 4, no precedes the shift to topical talk. The canonical opening sequence of the Finnish landline calls was clearly crystallized. Permutations in the core sequence were accountable in terms of local circumstances, as in extract 2. (2) Emerycall [Helsinki University, Finnish Department Data archive] 1 R: hh ö Pekka Virtanen, hh= hh uh Pekka Virtanen, hh= 2 C: =No joo: Jukka Julkunen morjens,= =[] yea:h Jukka Julkunen howdy 12,= 3 R: =No moi moi.= =[] hi hi.= 4 C: =ö Ryntäsit sä pi:tkältä. hh= =uh Did you rush from far away. hh= 5 R: =#Ei:: tuolt yläkerrast tänne alas vaan#, hh= =#No:: from upstairs down here only#, hh= 6 C: =Jo [o joo:, =ye [ah yeah, 7 R: [.nhh 8 C: Tota: mä tein ne (.) kii:lat nyt:te just [äskön.] We:ll I did those (.) cho:cks no:w just [a while ago] In extract 2, the opening runs almost the canonical way, except that at line 2 the caller inserts joo [ yeah ] after no, before the standard self-identification and the greeting. We may ask what this additional item does, and why it is there (for the Finnish speech particle joo, see Sorjonen, 2001). The preceding turn, the answer to the summons, seems to have some breathiness and appears to have been delayed (though not shown in the transcript, see line 4). The caller seems to have oriented to this breathiness and delay through the question at the first

6 344 Discourse Studies 8(3) possible point, the pre-topic inquiry about the answerer s availability for interaction or his possible problems in interacting is launched at line 4. Joo at line 2 seems to display the caller s registration of the answerer s difficulty in answering, which were noticeable in the hesitation and breathiness. Without joo the caller would have proceeded as usual, as in extract 1, as if the answer had been produced in the normal routine way. Here joo at line 2 indicates the caller s monitoring of the answer and his recognition of the departure from the opening, thus anticipating the inquiry at line 4 (cf. Schegloff, 1986). After this inquiry and the receipt (line 6) of its answer, the call opening proceeds normally, the topic being introduced. The Finnish landline call openings seem to involve robust patterns. First, the self-identification opening as an answer to the summons was clearly a default practice (in our dataset out of 107 calls). Second, the callers also generally identify themselves (78 out of 107 calls). In the conventional second turn of the Finnish landline calls, the self-identification precedes the greeting (Hakulinen, 1993). There are also calls in which speakers do not greet each other, the topic being initiated after the exchange of self-identifications. However, callers did not always identify themselves: as in Swedish or Dutch calls, the callers may do intimacy work, and allow the answerer to recognize them from their voice (cf. Houtkoop-Steenstra, 1991; Lindström, 1994). Nevertheless, the voice recognition was preserved only for calls between intimates. Third, the Finnish landline calls lack a reciprocal how-are-you sequence, in contrast to the US call conventions. In the Finnish landline calls, the anchor position for introducing the reason for the call follows immediately after the exchange of selfidentifications and greetings, although this position may also be occupied by an apology, such as sorry, did I wake you?, or a how-are-you? question or some variant. The conventionally lengthy responses to mitä kuuluu? [ how-are-you ] question show that it is being oriented as an information seeking question and not as a part of conventional call opening routine. 14 Indeed, there are no reciprocal exchanges of how-are-you questions in our data. Hakulinen (1993) found one reciprocal sequence in 320 Finnish call openings. It is a possible practice, but clearly not conventionalized in Finnish culture. The characteristics of the Finnish landline call opening can be highlighted by comparing it to typical American call openings like extract 3 below. The American call opening involves a summons answer sequence, identifications, greetings and an exchange of how-are-yous. (3) [Schegloff, 1986: 115] 0 ((ring)) 1 R: Hello, 2 C: Hi Ida? 3 R: Yeah 4 C: Hi,=This is Carla 5 R: Hi Carla.

7 Arminen and Leinonen: Mobile phone call openings C: How are you. 7 R: Okay:. 8 C: Good.= 9 R: = How about you. 10 C: = Fine. Don wants to know... The calls are canonically opened with a hello, which however is not a greeting, as the answerer will provide a proper greeting only after having identified the caller. Consequently, the caller can greet and claim recognition of the answerer at the second turn. 15 The voice sample at the second turn provides the chance for the answerer to identify the caller by returning the greeting and/or naming the caller. The answerer responding with only an acknowledgement token, like yeah or yes invites the caller to self-identify herself in the next turn. At this position, the acknowledgement token is treated as a failed recognition, as above. After the caller s self-identification, the answerer responds to the greeting at line 5, and the exchange of how-are-yous follows. The anchor position for the reason for the call emerges in American calls after the how-are-yous. In contrast to American calls, the Finnish landline call openings canonically follow a trajectory from the exchange of self-identifications to greetings, after which the reason for call may be launched. The existing other opening types seem to be reductions of this basic type, so that the topic may be initiated without an exchange of greetings, the caller does not self-identify, or the topic is initiated immediately after the answer to the summons. In these truncated openings, the parties involved show their orientation to having known the party who has not identified her or himself (intimacy work), and/or known the reason for the call without its being introduced. In this fashion the permutations are systematic variations of the canonical opening sequence. Finnish mobile phone call openings At least on the surface, the Finnish mobile phone call openings in 2002 are quite different from the Finnish landline call openings in the 1980s and 1990s. First, greetings have become the most common way to answer to a mobile phone. Of course, greeting terms had already been used in answering the landline telephone, in particular in the US. However, as Schegloff (1986) pointed out, hello was not done or treated as a greeting, because the answerer had not yet had the opportunity to identify the caller on the basis of the summons only. The hello that provided an answer to a summons was not a greeting directed to a known recipient. Schegloff (1986) further distinguishes between hello and hi, the latter indicating the answerer s supposition about knowing who is calling. In these so-called super-confident cases, an answer such as hi/yeah/yes shows an orientation to the identity of the caller and a pre-orientation to continue or resume the business in hand. For instance, in the call-back calls, the answerer may presume to know the caller and the parties might take mutual orientation

8 346 Discourse Studies 8(3) to the reason for the call for granted and omit the preceding parts of the conventional opening sequence (Schegloff, 1986). Typical mobile phone call openings resemble the super-confident cases. Digitalized telephone systems, such as GSM mobile phones (or digital wired systems), allow the receiver to gain access to the caller s number so that the answerer may get to know who is calling before answering. For instance, a (mobile) telephone service may allow the display of the caller s name if the incoming call comes from a person whose number is listed on the answerer s mobile phone contacts list. 16 Consequently, the mobile answerer can be super-confident of who is calling (if the call comes from the numbers listed on the phone), and tailor the answer accordingly. A greeting answer to a call from a known caller not only opens the call, but already establishes a common ground between speakers known to each other. (4) _ wav (R= Sanna v, C= Timo s)[particip. 2] 1 R: no moi, [] hi 2 (0.3) 3 C: no mo:i, [] hi:, 4 (.) 5 C: ooks sää lähössä, are you leavin, 6 (.) 7 R: e, no, 8 (0.3) When a mobile call is opened with a greeting, the caller does not consider the greeting as only an answer to a summons and a voice sample, but a greeting that makes a return of the greeting relevant. Further, the caller will also know who is likely to answer, as mobile phones tend to be personal unlike landline phones, which are often party-lines, such as in families or work places. 17 In this way, the greeting exchange happens between parties who know each other. After the return greeting, the anchor position for the reason for the call is established. The opening sequence is thus systematically reduced from earlier analogue landline openings, as in extracts 1 and 2. Further, the greeting answer to a mobile phone is an item of a different class from the American landline call hello, which did not indicate recognition of the caller, and thus was not oriented to as a greeting (extract 3). After the reciprocal greetings on a mobile phone, the speakers have achieved ratifying their availability for interaction, shown that they know with whom they are speaking and have greeted each other. Consequently, after only

9 Arminen and Leinonen: Mobile phone call openings 347 the two first turns the participants are ready to launch the reason for the call. This recurring organization is robust in the Finnish mobile calls (see extract 5). (5) _ wav (R= Sanna v, C= Erja s) [particip.2] 1 R: no moi, [ ] hi, 2 (0.3) 3 C: moi h, hi h, 4 (0.2) 5 C: hei tota me ollaan ny lähdössä maalle ja, hey 18 erm we are now leavin for the country side and, 6.hh kysymys yksi,.hh question one, 7 h haluatko että jätän ton mansikkapiirakan sulle.h do you want me to leave the strawberry pie for you The core mobile opening sequence 1) a recipient designed greeting, 2) return of the greeting, 3) a topic initiation seems involve some systematic features. The turn-initial no is commonly used for initiating the answer to the summons. From the Finnish landline calls the speech particle no has shifted from the second turn to the first vocal turn of the call. Through no, the answerer portrays the answer as a responsive action to a recognizable activity. In this way, the answer to the summons that indicates who is calling is treated as action in already ongoing interaction. The turn-initial no shows that the answer is not just to any summons but to one that announces the identity of the caller making it a (non-vocal) turn of its own. 19 Through no, the answerer claims recognition and projects a move from the recognition to the greeting. In this way already the first vocal turn forms part of the ongoing interaction between the parties. The pauses both between the first and the second turn, and between the second and the third turn are also usual in mobile calls. The pauses in these positions seem to be occasioned by various complications. Schegloff (1986) noticed that in a landline telephone there was a strict expectation about the timing of the answer to the summons. If people were far from the phone they could rush to answer it in time, while people who sat next to their phone did not answer immediately but waited for a proper number of rings. Indeed, in the Finnish landline data, there is also an explicit orientation to timing of the answer (e.g. extract 2). Both the delay, as in extract 2, and rushing are accountable for. No such strict measure for the right timing of the answer appears in mobile conversations. Answerers are not held accountable for the exact timing of the answer. Further, the commonly occurring pause after the answer to a summons shows that the callers have no strict expectation of timing for the answer to be

10 348 Discourse Studies 8(3) ready then and there for the standard turn-allocation of talk-in-interaction with minimal gaps between turns (Sacks et al., 1974). 20 Technical problems with the connection and at times lengthy delays in establishing the connection may also further reduce the alertness of callers. Ethnographic observations about the usage of mobile phones in public places suggest that answerers lack strict measure in timing their answers to the summons (Murtagh, 2001; Vihavainen, 2002). Occasionally, phones may ring annoyingly long (from the overhearers standpoint) before they are answered, either because of the answerer s attention to business other than the summons of the mobile or difficulty in locating a mobile phone lost in a handbag, backpack, or pocket, etc. The pause between the second and the third turn in the mobile call openings seems to be occasioned by a specific challenge in turn-allocation. The natural order of things seems to guarantee the initiator of the contact the anchor position in initiating the topic. When a person greets the other in the street, the person greeting gets the floor after the return of the initial greeting. While this order holds in the landline phones cross cultures (extracts 1 3), the mobile phone technology reverses it. If the call is answered by a greeting, then the callers end up producing the second pair part of the greetings (extracts 4 5). After completing their greetings, the callers have arrived at the end of the turn construction unit; a transition relevance place occurs (Sacks et al., 1974). At that point, the answerer is the preferred next speaker as the previous turn has been directed from the caller to the answerer; that is, the caller has greeted the answerer. To avoid a gap between turns, the answerer should take the turn, or the caller has to self-select herself as the next speaker. If the answerer took the turn after the caller s greeting, she would end up in the anchor position in initiating the reason for call (which sometimes happens). Alternatively, the caller has to self-select herself after the greeting. Self-selection after a greeting seems to pose a pragmatic challenge. Since the greeting allocates the turn to the recipient; floor-holding reverses the expected allocation and demands work to reorientate the recipient. Indeed, reorientation signals, like hei tota [ hey erm ] (extract 5, line 5) are commonly used in this position. Further, a pause often emerges before this reorientation. Alternatively, the speaker should pre-empt the greeting, for instance, by embedding it into a larger intonational phrase (extract 6, line 2). (6) _ wav (C= Pekka s, R= Jouko v)[particip. 3] 1 R: MORO, HI, 2-> C: MOI mis meet, HI where are you, 3 (0.7) 4 R: mä oon täällä Ernestossa jo, I am here at Ernesto s already, 5 (0.8)

11 Arminen and Leinonen: Mobile phone call openings 349 Using MOI mis meet [ HI where are you? ] the caller both returns the greeting and initiates the topic. The greeting is thus not produced as an independent item, but used as a turn-initial form for topic initiation. This is a reduction of the canonical openings which emphasizes the immediacy of the reason for the call. Here the recipient of the question orients to this immediacy through the temporal marker jo [ already ] at line 4, which suggests that the question was seen to concern an ongoing activity that had an immediate goal. The embedding of the greeting into a part of the topic initiation thus affects the nature of the contact opened and is oriented to by the parties. Mobile call openings as a whole involve plenty of variation, for both contextual and intra-interactional reasons. Unlike landline calls, the recipientdesigned shaping of a call can start immediately with the answer to the summons, which conveys information about who is calling, making a recipientdesigned response relevant. Since different types of summons occasion various responses, mobile calls are heterogeneous from the outset. The call can come from a known, unknown or silent number. The calls from known numbers may come from intimates or acquaintances inviting responses with varying degrees of intimacy (see also Hopper, 1992). Mobile calls are recipient-designed from the very first turn, and the mobility of these phones imposes further characteristics on the calls. A mobile device may be carried anywhere at any time and some moments may be awkward for the intended answerer to take calls. If the summons is not silenced, the phone may ring in places like toilets. These situational complications also bear on the opening of the call. Technical problems such as weak audibility may also affect some of the openings. In all, the spectrum of calls has diversified and the opening practices reflect this change. In addition to contextual variation, the internal organization of the call-ininteraction is also open to variation. We have already pointed out the caller s dilemma about how to get a chance to initiate mentioning the reason for a call immediately after one s own greeting. The caller may either rush from the greeting to the topic initiation in the same construction unit, or may drop the greeting entirely, as if the answerer s greeting were a return greeting. Consequently, the call itself, the summons of which identifies the caller, is treated as an initiation of an interaction so that the greeting is already pre-empted by the summons conveying personal information. 21 In all, the spectrum of calls has diversified and the opening practices reflect this change. This variation is summarized in Table 2, before entering into a more detailed analysis of the variation. We claim that the greeting is used as an answer to a known caller, in particular if speakers are at least to some degree close to each other. The caller may return the greeting (1.1.), or initiate the topic immediately (1.2.). The cases in which the caller identifies him/herself after a greeting, which will be discussed soon, are deviant both from the participants and our point of view. Selfidentifications as answers are mainly used when the caller is not known or the number is blocked. The self-identification opening may also reflect other

12 350 Discourse Studies 8(3) TABLE 2. Finnish mobile phone 22 and landline call openings Mobile Landline 1. turn Opening type (N=63) (N=107) Greeting 1.1. Greeting exchange, topic opening or account 33 0 Greeting 1.2. Answerer greets C, who opens topic straight away 8 0 Greeting 1.3. Answerer greets C, who identifies him/herself, 3 0 greets A and opens the topic Self Exchange of self-identifications and greetings, identification topic opening Self A self-identifies, exchange of greetings, identification C opens the topic Self A self-identifies, C opens the topic 5 13 identification Channel A opens the channel haloo, joo, etc., 5 0 opener C greets A Channel A s channel opener, C opens topic [the call is 3 1 opener immediately linked to the previous call-in-a-series ] Try-marked 4.1. A & C make a try-marked opening (channel 8 2 opening openers repeated, etc. [problem is dealt with] Try-marked 4.2. C calls A by name after no answer [problem is dealt] 2 0 opening All contextual features or a social distance between the speakers. 23 The caller s understanding of the nature of the answerer s self-identification comes through in the caller s first turn. The caller not reciprocating in identifying him/herself shows the caller s understanding of having been known to the answerer either by number or voice. The initial channel-openers seem mainly to reflect contextual features, such as the call being a return call (cf. Schegloff, 1979 on super-confident cases). Try-marked openings seem to reflect technical problems. Greeting a known caller In Finnish mobile phone calls, a greeting is used as an answer to a call when the caller is identified by the summons. A greeting is canonically responded to by a return of the greeting, as seen in extracts 4 6. The caller, however, may initiate a topic straight after the answerer s greeting, as in the next extract, in which the immediacy of the reason for the call occasions pre-emption of the greeting. (7) _ wav (R= Pekka v, C= Timo s) [particip. 3] 1 R: moro, hi::, 2 (0.5)

13 Arminen and Leinonen: Mobile phone call openings C: oo kumpi Alajärvi vai Moottoriveneilykeskus, ee which Alajärvi or Motorboat centre, 4 (.) 5 R: siihe. that one. 6 (0.6) 7 C: HÄH, HUH? 8 (.) 9 R: siitä, from that one, 10 (0.7) 11 C: no kumpaa Alasjärvi, erm which one Alasjärvi, The call forms part of the ongoing real-time co-ordination of an activity. The car driver asks directions by mobile phone. The omission of a greeting contributes toward establishing a sense of immediacy. The brief response by the recipient at line 5 may be the answerer s attempt to align with the time pressure. Unfortunately, the driver does not recognize the referent of the indexical expression. The problem persists in another round at lines The extracts so far show that the callers do not identify themselves after the answerer s greeting, orienting themselves to being known by the answerer. The initial greeting has ratified the interaction taking place between parties who know each other. The greeting may thus have been responded to with a greeting (extracts 4 6) or with initiation of a topic (extract 7). However, two calls in our dataset deviate from the pattern observed in that the callers identify themselves after the answerer s greeting. This may mean that a greeting as an answer to summons might after all be done as a formulaic voice sample, like hello in American landline openings. The more detailed analysis of one of these cases shows, however, that this is not the case. (8) _ wav (R= Pekka v, C= Seppo s) [particip. 3] 1 R: morjes, howdy, 2 (0.9) 3 C: seppo moi, Seppo hi, 4 (0.3) 5 R: moi, hi,

14 352 Discourse Studies 8(3) 6 C: missäs baarissa ollaan, ((In Finnish a passive construction)) in which bar you are, 7 (0.4) 8 R: OEEE EEE (h)e (h)e (h)e 9 C: aaööö 10 R: autossa kuin, in the car why, Why should this extract not be an example of a greeting functioning as a voice sample answer to a summons? First, the answerer s first turn in line 1 is highly informal; it is not just hello, but a greeting done in a specific way. Morjes is a greeting used between friends so that it displays a recognition unlike a standard greeting that could be used to greet a previously unknown person. The selfidentification and the greeting in the next turn are not done immediately, but only after a lengthy delay (even for a mobile call opening) marking the delayed turn as dispreferred. Thus the self-identification is produced dispreferred, indicating the caller s orientation to the mobile phone context. The answerer returns the caller s greeting in line 5, echoing the caller s greeting term moi, which is more standard or neutral than the morjes in the first line. The neutrality achieved is reversed in line 6, where the caller asks which bar the answerer is in, which is taken as a joke as laughter tokens show at line 8. The call opening does not show that the caller had oriented to being not recognized; rather, the self-identification in line 3 was a playful move that preceded the joke in line 6. In pretending not to be known, the caller established a jocular relationship with the recipient. Rather than showing the answers to mobiles as mere voice samples, the extract displays the caller s orientation to the greeting as a personal answer to the phone which can be used to achieving a joking relationship by pretending not to recognize the recipient design of the answerer s greeting. In the other opening of this type, the caller s self-identification after the answerer s greeting also involves the pretence of not being recognized, and contributes toward establishing a jocular relationship between the speakers. Tailoring the answer The information about the caller the summons contains allows the answerer to tailor the answer. When the caller is known and close enough, the answerer greets the caller as shown. The summons that shows a call coming from an unknown number also informs the answerer. If the caller is not known, the call coming from an unknown or silent number, the answerer tailors the answer accordingly. Other contextual features are also oriented to in answering the phone. Where mobile calls are used for institutional tasks; the speakers may orient themselves primarily to their institutional roles and identify themselves accordingly irrespective of the mobile medium. Further contextual features like

15 Arminen and Leinonen: Mobile phone call openings 353 local contingencies of the answerer s situation may also be oriented to in answering. When the caller is not known, the answerer may return to the type of opening practice previously used (Hakulinen, 1993). The whole opening sequence may then be shaped like that of the landline call openings, though some pertinent changes are also observable. In extract 9, the summons does not seem to identify the caller. The call may actually have come from a landline number unknown to the answerer. The speakers themselves are close acquaintances and in regular contact with each other, as the call shows. (9) _ wav (R= Tiina v, C= Pirita s) [particip.1] 1 R: Tiina? 2 (0.5) 3 C: Pirita täs moi, Pirita here hi, 4 R: no terveh, [] helloh, 5 (0.2) 6 C: missä sie oot, where are you, 7 R: eeuh T(h)oijalassa(h), (h)e(h)e Eeuh in T(h)oijala(h), (h)e(h)e 8 C: aijaa, oh I see, 9 (.) 10 C: mä luuli et sä oot möki<llä,> ((cottage means I thought you were at the cot<tage,> summer residence)) 11 R: ei ku mä olin kyllä mökilläkin joh, no but I was already at the cottage too, In the first line, the answerer uses her first name to identify herself, the name being uttered with rising intonation. At this point the answerer does not seem to recognize the caller; the name said in an upward intonation invites the caller to identify herself. The caller s first turn at line three resembles that of the landline calls (cf. Hakulinen, 1993), but it lacks the turn-initial no. Noticeably, in her next turn the caller asks the famous mobile phone question where are you? thereby showing her orientation to the recipient being on a mobile phone (cf. Laurier, 2000; Arminen, 2005). The lack of no at the caller s first turn may indicate her orientation to the answerer s evident inability to recognize her. The opening thus proceeds differently to the landline openings. On the mobile phone the answerer s inability to identify the caller has become accountable for, unlike landline calls.

16 354 Discourse Studies 8(3) In a mobile phone context, the caller s recognizability through the summons is the default case, but the callers may block their number if they wish. Number blocking may be deliberately utilized to gain the interactional advantage of not being known. In extract 10, the caller seems to have blocked his number to allow himself to make a joke-identification. (10) _ wav (R= Pekka v, C= Rauno s) [particip.3] 1 R: Pekka?, 2 (0.8) 3 C: hannes johannes vihannes jorolainen virolainen, ((a word play based on the name of a famous Finnish politician Johannes Virolainen)) 4 (.) 5 C: päi:vää, goo:d afternoon, 6 R: päi:vää. goo:d afternoon. 7 C: (h)(h)e (h)e (h)e (h)e (h)e 8 C: anteeks että herätän vahing [oss. sorry that I m wakin you up by [accident. 9 R: [se pitkähiuksinen [the longhaired 10 kaveri joka guy who 11 C: (h)e (h)e (h)e 12 C: noh mitäs so what s At the first line, the name is said with a slightly upward intonation without showing recognition of the caller. After a pause, the caller makes a jokeidentification and then utters a formal greeting with prolonged intonation. At the next turn, the answerer adapts to the style of greeting and mimics the intonation, thereby aligning himself with the caller. The caller continues joking at line 8, and the answerer plays along. It seems that for this call opening the caller used the name-blocking to allow him a joke-identification. The joke would have suffered if the answerer had known who was calling. Since the answerer s alignment with the joke suggests a close acquaintance with the caller, we have good reason to think that the answerer would have known the caller were the number not blocked. Another context in which self-identifications are used in mobile phone is institutional calls. The two next examples are from different types of

17 Arminen and Leinonen: Mobile phone call openings 355 institutional/task-oriented calls. In extract 11, the answerer seems to be on an office phone, probably not a mobile, although it could be, and the call is from a mobile. In extract 12, both speakers seem to use mobile phones. In both cases, the opening is adjusted to realize the institutional task. In extract 11, note also how the caller introduces himself at lines (11) _ wav (C= Jarmo, R= Marja)[particip.4] 1 R: Lehtonen Marja? ((Familyname Firstname)) 2 (.) 3 C: mts. hh ((smacks)) no hyvää huomenta päivää ((idiom)) [] good morning afternoon 4 onks tää [ (<->logian) laitoksellah, is this logy department, 5 R: [>huomenta?< [>morning?< 6 (0.2) 7 R: joo:? ye:s? 8 C: (- [ -) 9 R: [kyllä? [right? 10 C: >hy:vä,< >goo:d,< 11 C: hhh no: mä oon jarmo nieminen ja <soittelen>. hhh [] I m jarmo nieminen and < I m calling > 12 h.h Turusta (oon) semmonen historian opiskelija,.hhh h.h from Turku (I m) this student of history,.hhh 13 R: just, = okay,= 14 C: =mun asia koskee teidän laitoksella tehtyä tutkimusta, =my subject concerns a study done in your department, The answer includes a full name, a common practice in expert organizations like universities. The caller, however, checks that the call has reached the right institutional location. In lines 11 12, the caller introduces himself in a manner appropriate for the institutional nature of the call. The introduction also legitimizes the call, since as a student the caller may expect to have the right to the kind of service he is going to ask for. The reason for call is then explicitly initiated at line 14. Here the mobile medium of the call is clearly not the issue, the mobile phone being used to make a task-oriented call, the features of which both realize and reflect this institutionality.

18 356 Discourse Studies 8(3) In extract 12, both speakers appear to be on a mobile phone. The answer consists of the first name only, and the caller expects to be known at his first turn, as he does not identify himself. Details of this opening demonstrate the goaloriented nature of the call. (12) _ wav (C= Jarmo, R= Ismo)[particip.4] 1 R: I:smo, 2 (0.3) 3 C: no: moro, [ ] hello, 4 (0.6) 5 C: tuota ni, well erm, 6 (.) 7 C: mä oon nyt täällä I m now here 8 (0.3) 9 C: sivulla ni on site/page uh 10 (.) 11 C: täss on neljä riviä hepreaa ((idiom)) here is four lines of Hebrew 12 C: ja sillä sipuli. ((idiom)) and that s it. The answerer s prosody at the first turn does not indicate whether he recognized the caller. At least, it does not display not recognizing the caller. The caller does not identify himself but seems to orient toward the answerer knowing him. The reason for the call is then related in a way which shows an orientation to a mutually understood task between caller and answerer. Hence, the caller may be known through this connection. However, whether the caller expects to be known on the basis of summons, voice, or through the ongoing task cannot be judged by the recording only. Nevertheless, the answer with the first name only and a withdrawal of the greeting at that point or after the caller s greeting, shows the answerer s task-orientation in the opening of the call. The answerer pre-empts the call from all other issues apart from identifying himself, and then lets the caller tell his (computer-related) problem. The caller also orients himself to the task-driven nature of the call, going directly to the business after the greeting and explicitly marking the end of the problem report (line 12). In the continuation of the call, the answerer gives some advice concerning the problem. Here the mobile call is used for reporting a problem, and the interactional practices are adapted to that purpose.

19 Arminen and Leinonen: Mobile phone call openings 357 The mobility of the phone means that it may in principle be carried anywhere with the owner. As the caller does not know (at least, not with the current technology) where the answerer is, the call may be received anywhere, if the answerer takes the call. At least some people do also take calls when the local circumstances may pose interactional difficulties (Weilenmann, 2003). These difficulties may be oriented to in answering the phone. In extract 13, the call is answered in the toilet of a train. It seems that details of the call opening are occasioned by these local constraints. (13) _ wav (R= Tiina v, C= Pirjo s) 24 [particip.1] 1 R: Tiina? 2 (0.5) 3 C: no hei missäspäin sä olet, [ ] hey whereabouts are you, 4 R: tyypillistä junan vessassa, typically in the toilet of the train, 5 (1.0) 6 C: aha missäpäin juna o. I see whereabout the train is. 7 R: no#:# tulee #m# TÄÄ ajaa tää lähti jotenki e:#rm# comes #m# THIS drives this left some 8 kymmene minuuttii myöhässä tai jotain. ten minutes late or something. 9 (0.8) 10 R: halo- 11 C: nii lähdiksä sielt n [eljän jälkee. so did you leave there a [fter 4 pm. 12 R: [(vähä hämminkii) ootas [(some trouble) wait 13 C: haloo? 14 C: haloo haloo, 15 R: odota vähä. wait a bit. The call is answered with the first name in upward intonation. The answer does not display recognition of the caller. The caller, who at line 3 goes straight to business, seems to assume the answerer knows her, and the immediate answer to the caller s question shows that at that point the answerer has no problem in recognizing the caller. Lines 12 and 15 show that the answerer, however, has some interactional constraints in her local situation in the toilet of the train. It

20 358 Discourse Studies 8(3) seems that the answerer may have not been able to use the caller ID of the summons even though she is likely to have had the caller s number in her register. Alternatively, the self-identification opening may display her constrained situation in the toilet, which prevented her orienting herself to or involving with interaction with the outside world at that particular moment. Throughout this opening there is a clear misalignment between the speakers, the caller being oriented to the relevance of the answerer s location to their mutual arrangement, while the answerer is oriented to her immediate situation and the interactional constraints it imposes (Arminen, 2005). The differing, nonreciprocal ways of opening the call initiate this misalignment between parties. The opening can also be tailored vis-à-vis the immediate, local circumstances of the answerer, who may be engaged in activities that have a bearing on the opportunity for and nature of the communicative interaction. Mobile contingencies The other types of opening not yet discussed seem to reflect contingencies related to the type of medium. As discussed elsewhere (Ling, 2000), and observable in interaction (extract 7), one of the common usages of mobile telephones is coordination of the ongoing activity. The opening sequence may demonstrate the parties orientation to the ongoing activity and may be shaped accordingly. Sometimes the call itself may seem to be embedded in the activity, and the parties may talk in a way that shows that the talk is just a means of achieving something else. The call opening may reflect this instrumental character. Social, ritualistic aspects of the call may be stripped away, and the call may take on a purely instrumental appearance. In extract 14, the call is opened with joo? [ yes? ], when the parties are oriented toward their mutual appointment, and the call is purely instrumental in solving the problem of not seeing each other. (14) _ wav (C= Jarmo, R= Sari) [particip.4] 1 R: joo? yes? 2 (0.2) 3 C: terve, hello, 4 (.) 5 C: no, huh, 25 6 (0.8) 7 R: missä sä oot, where are you, 8 (.)

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