“I don't mean extradimensional in a woo-woo sense”: Doing non-explanation in discussions of unidentified aerial phenomena
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McVittie, C. and McKinlay, A. (2023) ‘“I don’t mean extradimensional in a woo-woo sense”: Doing non-explanation in discussions of unidentified aerial phenomena’, Language & Communication, 88, pp. 90–98. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.langcom.2022.11.005.
In everyday talk, speakers commonly provide explanations that “make plain” or “make intelligible” prior talk. Little work, however, has examined talk in which speakers offer no explanation for what is being described. We consider talk about “unidentified aerial phenomena” (UAPs) from news media interviews. Interviewees distanced themselves from accountability for explaining UAPs or proposed multiple candidate explanations. Interviewers tabled their own potential explanations. Participants’ talk did not “make plain” or “make intelligible” phenomena being discussed. These findings show that explanations are a participants’ concern. These interactions allow discussion of topics of broad public interest, thereby “doing news”.