The present article examines the broad function of attention-getting embodied by parenthetical look in Chinese, Dutch, English and Italian. It analyzes a sample of the marker’s occurrences in corpora of spontaneous conversations and of interviews and discussions in terms of a systematic typology of parameters of interactional behavior and adopts a range of statistical methods to uncover patterns of (dis)similarity. The results include, inter alia, a cross-linguistic preference for clause-initial and turn-initial/medial position, a strong association across languages with assertive and expressive speech acts and an attraction to the onset of quotations. Variation in and exceptions to these tendencies are observed too. The findings are explained with reference to phenomena such as persistence and entrenchment and contribute to a better understanding not only of attention-getting in different languages but also of intersubjectivity, constructed dialogue, and illocutional concurrences.