Alignment, Affiliation, and Engagement: Mothers’ Wow in Parent-Child Interactions

Ying Jin, Younhee Helen Kim, Mia Huimin Chen

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


As a type of response token that involves emotional displays, interjections have received a substantial amount of scholarly interest in linguistics. Yet a paucity of research focuses on how emotion is displayed via interjections in interactions in situ. This article focuses on how surprise and other associated emotions are accomplished via wow in Mum’s turn when interacting with the child. Using Conversation Analysis and prosody analysis, we show three major functions of wow in mothers’ turns: showing/inviting alignment and affiliation, indicating high and low engagement, and making compliments. Importantly, we argue that although affiliation-invitation/display is a generic function of wow, it could be designed as part and parcel of other actions, indicating that something more is going on here. Data are in English.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)279-298
JournalResearch on Language and Social Interaction
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 16 Aug 2022


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