Interactional linguistics, body and dance

Leelo Keevallik works in the field of interactional linguistics with an emphasis on the sequentiality of social action and the temporal nature of grammar. She has published on the development and use of pragmatic particles, features of grammar, such as projection, clause combining, clitics and reduplication, as well as prosody in interaction. Having re-interpreted the function of pro-forms and deixis in real-time embodied contexts, she is currently looking into practices of coordinating grammar with the body.

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Research interests

  • Embodied interaction in the material world, especially at dance classes
  • Directives and compliance as social actions
  • Pragmatic particles and processes of particularization
  • Evidentiality and epistemics in sequences of actions
  • Interactional prosody
  • Deixis in face-to-face interaction
  • Construction of identity and language change in immigrant communities.

Full list of publications




Leelo Keevallik, Auli Hakulinen

Epistemically reinforced kyl(lä)/küll-responses in Estonian and Finnish: Word order and social action

In Journal of Pragmatics

Article in journal

Leelo Keevallik

What Does Embodied Interaction Tell Us About Grammar?

In Research on Language and Social Interaction

Article in journal

Leelo Keevallik

Sequence Initiation or Self-Talk? Commenting on the Surroundings While Mucking out a Sheep Stable

In Research on Language and Social Interaction

Article in journal


Kirsi Laanesoo, Leelo Keevallik

Noticing Breaches with Nonpolar Interrogatives: Estonian Kes ("Who") Ascribing Responsibility for Problematic Conduct

In Research on Language and Social Interaction

Article in journal

Leelo Keevallik

Negotiating deontic rights in second position: young adult daughters' imperatively formatted responses to mothers' offers in Estonian

In Imperative turns at talk

Chapter in book


Academic Degree

  • PhD in Finno-ugric languages, Uppsala University





  • The Graduate School in Language and Culture in Europe
  • Center of Excellence in Intersubjectivity, Helsinki University
  • Samtals- och Interaktionsseminariet
  • International Pragmatics Association
  • International Society for Conversation Analysis


  • 2006 Stiftelsen Eduard Treus Minnesfond, for research on Estonian in Sweden
  • 2005 Oscarspriset, Uppsala University
  • 2004 Benzelius prize, Kungliga Vetenskapssocieteten



Present positions

  • Professor in Language and Culture at Linköping University
  • Pro-head of the Department of Culture and Communication, Linköping University



Supervision of PhD students