This book is a collection of studies of corrections and repair in conversation, by Gail Jefferson, co-founder of the field of Conversation Analysis and one of its foremost researchers. Throughout her career, Jefferson explored the almost hidden, subterranean world of the seemingly minor errors and mistakes that people make in interaction. Speech errors sometimes have an ideological significance (e.g. a defendant apparently about to refer to the police as "cops" but cutting off just in time to correct that to "officer"). Despite the virtual invisibility of these errors, such problematic moments in interaction bring into play ways of remedying and correcting errors that can have profound significance for the participants. Through these studies Jefferson reveals the delicacy, the subtlety with which moments of communication difficulties and possible miscommunications are remedied, in such a way as to minimize the damage that might otherwise be caused to the interaction.
This collection represents the most distinctive, sustained, and incisive exploration of what speakers are "up to" in episodes when they correct errors in their own and one another's speech. Combining rigorous technical analysis, extraordinary methodological innovation, and acute observation, Jefferson explored what she herself referred to as the "wild side of Conversation Analysis." The coherence and depth of her research is revealed in these studies, which include four previously unpublished papers, as well as others that were published variously in less widely-distributed journals and publications. In the volume's introduction, editors Jörg Bergmann and Paul Drew provide an appraisal, for the first time, of the significance of Jefferson's stunningly inventive research into errors and their correction in conversation.