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EN532: Analysing Talk

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Stephen Pihlaja

on 13 October 2014

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Transcript of EN532: Analysing Talk

Analysing Talk

Dr Stephen Pihlaja
Think of a word that has different meanings in different situations. How do you know what the meaning of the word is?
Are there times when the meaning of a word might be ambiguous?
Think of an example and think of why the meaning is ambiguous in the situation.
Grice's Maxims
The maxim of quantity, where one tries to be as informative as one possibly can, and gives as much information as is needed, and no more.
The maxim of quality, where one tries to be truthful, and does not give information that is false or that is not supported by evidence.
The maxim of relation, where one tries to be relevant, and says things that are pertinent to the discussion.
The maxim of manner, when one tries to be as clear, as brief, and as orderly as one can in what one says, and where one avoids obscurity and ambiguity.
These maxims can be flouted for various purposes.
List a time when someone might flout each of the different maxims.

What is the reason for flouting the maxims, in each case?
Key Concepts
Someone forgot again.

Make your contribution such as is required, at the stage at which it occurs, by the accepted purpose or direction of the talk exchange in which you are engaged.
(Grice, 1989)
Co-operative Principle
Key point
Utterances need to be related to context to be understood.
I told you so
Utterance + Shared Knowledge draw Inference of Implied Meaning
Shared Knowledge =Presuppositions
What logically follows from what is asserted in the utterance
Your coffee is getting cold

>> The cup/etc. belongs to the hearer
>> The cup/etc. contains coffee
>> The coffee was not cold to begin with

||- The speaker does not think the coffee will taste good once it is cold
What do these mean?
Oh, look! There’s a petrol station across the road.
My phone’s not working.
How listeners make inferences about what is said to arrive at an interpretation of the speaker’s intended meaning
Pragmatics studies
A: Smith doesn’t seem to have a girlfriend these days.
B: He has been paying a lot of visits to New York.
Speech Act Theory: developed by John Austin and John Searle (Philosophers) from the basic insight:

“[L]anguage is used not just to describe the world, but to perform a range of other actions that can be indicated by the performance of the utterance itself.” (Schiffrin, 1994: 6)
Speech Act Theory
Speaker: Can you pass the salt?
Hearer: /passes the salt/

S’s utterance can be understood:
as a question (about H’s ability)
a request (for H to pass the salt to S)
Speech Act Theory
(Police make call)
(Receiver is lifted, and there is a one second pause)
Police: Hello.
Other: American Red Cross.
Police: Hello, this is Police Headquarters … er, Officer Stratton (etc,.).
(Schegloff, 1972 in Schiffrin 1994: 10)
Conversation Analysis
DA is about making processes that already take place beneath the surface of your consciousness more explicit

Communication and interpretation is going on so smoothly around us without us having to attend to it though!?!?

By understanding how discourse works -- understand people and communicate more effectively
Why do we analyse discourse?
Real world knowledge also applicable to interpretation of baby/mommy text

It follows a familiar script where babies cry and their mothers pick them up to stop them crying
It could have been picked up by a total stranger who was the mother of some other baby, but that wouldn’t be most people’s first guess

We make sense of discourse partly by making guesses based on knowledge about the world

Definition of discourse as ‘language above the sentence’ is not adequate
Real-world knowledge
The baby cried.
The mommy picked it up. (Sacks, 1972)
Language above the sentence
Language is ambiguous -- what things mean is never absolutely clear
Assumptions of DA
Module outline
Cameron, D. (2001) Working with Spoken Discourse, London: SAGE.

Ehrlich, S. (2001) Representing Rape: Language and sexual consent, London: Routledge.

Grice, H.P. (1975) Logic and Conversation. In P. Cole and J. Morgan (eds), Speech Acts (Syntax and Semantics, Vol. 3), New York: Academic Press, pp. 41—58.

Gumperz, J. (1982) Discourse Strategies, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Gumperz, J. and D. Tannen (1979). Individual and Social Differences in Language Use. Individual Differences in Language Ability and Language Behaviour. In C. Fillmore, D. Kempler and W. S.-Y. Wang. London/New York, Academic Press, Inc.: 305-325.

Hallowell, A. (1964) Ojibwa ontology, behaviour and world view. In S. Diamond (ed.), Primitive Views of the World, New York: Columbia University Press, pp. 49—82.

Harris, Z. (1952) Discourse Analysis, Language, 28, pp. 1—30.

Jones, R.H. (2010) Discourse Analysis: A resource book for students, London: Routledge.

Sacks, H. (1972) Lecture Notes. School of Social Science, University of California at Irvine.

Schegloff, E. (1972) Sequencing in conversational openings. In J. Gumperz and D. Hymes (eds), Directions in Sociolinguistics, New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, pp. 346—80.

Schiffrin, D. (1994) Approaches to Discourse, Oxford: Blackwell.

Stubbs, M. (1983) Discourse Analysis, Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Widdowsen, H. (1995) Discourse analysis: a critical view, Language and Literature, 4(3), pp. 157—72.
Assignment 1 (20%):
Annotate a transcript, commenting on features
600 word write up in response to focusing question
Deadline: 17 March 2014

Assignment 2 (80%)
Collect and transcribe your own conversational data!
Compare and contrast with another piece of data (primary or secondary) (2,500 words)
Deadline: 9 May 2014
Conversation Analysis
focuses on sequential structures in conversation mechanics of conversation provide a basis through which social order is constructed.

Speech Act Theory
focuses on communicative acts performed through speech
data are typically constructed utterances in hypothetical contexts
Examples are chosen to illustrate the interplay between text and context that mutually informs production and interpretation of the acts performed through words

Ethnography of Communication
focuses on language and communication as cultural behaviour status and significance of any particular act can be discovered only as part of a matrix of more general meanings, beliefs, and values that extend far beyond the knowledge of the grammar of one’s language
requires extensive fieldwork within a community/comparisons between communities

focuses on meaning, context, and communication of constructed utterances communicative meaning of a particular utterance is derived through general assumptions about human rationality and conduct together with literal meaning of utterances, these assumptions are the basis from which to draw highly specific inferences about intended meanings

Critical Discourse Analysis
focuses on hidden agenda of discourse and the choices that speakers and writers make in comparison to other possibilities
close analysis of authentic data, paying attention to content and form

Interactional Sociolinguistics
focuses on the social and linguistic meanings created during interaction although hearers draw inferences about speakers’ intent (as in SAT and pragmatics), the inferences are considerably broader and more varied and they are based on a wide array of verbal and nonverbal cues that are part of cultural repertoires for signaling meanings (and can be discovered only through the collection of actual utterances)
Summary of Approaches
Pragmatics: based on philosophical ideas of H.P. Grice

Grice proposed distinctions between different types of meaning and argued that general maxims of cooperation provide inferential routes to a speaker’s communicative intention

Pragmatics is most concerned with analysing speaker meaning at the level of utterances and this often amounts to a sentence, rather than text, sized unit of language use

But since an utterance is, by definition, situated in a context (including a linguistic context, i.e., a text), pragmatics often ends up including discourse analyses and providing means of analysing discourse along the way.
“A great deal of general knowledge and contextual information has to be brought to bear on even the most banal texts we encounter if those texts are to serve their communicative purpose.” (Cameron, 2001: 13)

Better definition: “Language in use”
language used to do something and mean something, language produced and interpreted in a real-world context (Cameron, 2001: 13)

Note: not all discourse analysts are linguists, so definitions vary!
Language in use
Later, an item about vasectomy and the results of the do-it-yourself competition (Stubbs, 1983)
Linguists treat language as a ‘system of systems’, with each system having its own characteristic forms of structure or organisation

As units get larger (words are larger than morphemes, sentences are larger than words), you metaphorically move up from one level of organisation to the next

Language above the sentence means patterns (structure, organisation) in units which are larger, more extended than one sentence
Language above the sentence
Discourse analysis is the study of language

It is “the study of the ways sentences and utterances are put together to make texts and interactions and how those texts and interactions fit into our social world.” (Jones, 2012: 2)

“It is a way of looking at language that focuses on how people use it in real life to do things such as joke and argue and persuade and flirt, and to show that they are certain kinds of people or belong to certain groups.” (Jones, 2012: 2)
What is Discourse Analysis?
Widdowson (1995) points out that a ‘text’ can in fact be smaller than a sentence e.g.,

A single word or letter cannot have structure above the sentence. So are these examples texts?

Widdowson argues -- the context -- its interpretation relies on real world knowledge that is not contained in the text itself
Smaller than a sentence?
Common sense resources, practices and procedures through which members of a society produce and recognise mutually intelligible objects, events and courses of action

Garfinkel sought to study the social structure of everyday lived experience and to develop an understanding of “how the structures of everyday activities are ordinarily and routinely produced and maintained” (Garfinkel, 1967: 35-6)

Social order appears to be orderly, but is in reality potentially chaotic

Social order is not a pre-existing framework, but rather it is constructed in the minds of social actors as they engage with society — experience must somehow be organised into a coherent pattern
study actual instances of social interaction and asserted that the ordinary activities of daily life were an important subject for study
everyday events and situations and to discover from these non-trivial information about how human beings engage in sociality:
Ethnomethodology and CA
Sacks with Schegloff and Jefferson developed CA as oriented towards understanding the
organizational structure of talk

Saw talk as activity through which
accomplishes things
in interaction
Conversation Analysis
Order is produced orderliness:
order does not occur of its own accord nor does it pre-exist the interaction, but is the result of the co-ordinated practices of the participants who achieve orderliness and then interact
Core Assumptions
That there is overwhelming order in conversation
CA Therefore Assumes …
Not neutral and objective representations of talk:
A “transcript is a text that “re”-presents an event; it is not the event itself. Following this logic, what is re-presented is data constructed by a researcher for a particular purpose, not just talk written down” (Green, Franquiz and Dixon, 1997: 172)

Transcripts are
secondary data
representing the primary data of the recorded interaction

In CA, no level of detail is considered to be irrelevant — transcription is much more than the recording of the words produced by the participants in interaction

Information external to talk — important that transcript provides info about the circumstances in which the recording was produced

Transcription system developed by Gail Jefferson
Prosody — stress, intonation and differences in volume and length of sounds which are interactionally important — e.g., intonation can distinguish between questions and statements — intonation contour is the primary aspect of the delivery of these sentences which marks their function in talk In written language, this is marked by punctuation

What did he do?
You have a pen?

Punctuation symbols are used in transcripts but have different meanings:

: lengthened sound
. falling intonation
? rising intonation
, slightly rising intonation
¿ intonation which rises more than a slight rise (,) but is not as sharp as a rise, or does not reach as high a pitch as for a question mark
Transcribing Prosody
First stage in developing a transcript is to capture the words that the participants are saying
Transcribing Words
Listen to the audio file and read the transcript at the same time:
What do the different symbols mean?
Participants in conversation cannot necessarily explain HOW they manage turn-taking — making explicit what ordinary conversationalists take for granted is precisely what CA sets out to do

Overwhelmingly in conversation, one and only one person speaking at a time, while speaker change recurs with minimal gap and minimal overlap

Continuous achievement of the parties to attend to the conversation — accomplished on a turn-by-turn basis, or more precisely: at any ‘transition relevance place’ at the end of any ‘turn construction unit’
= one unit of talk follows another with no discernible interval between the two (placed at the end of one and at the start of the other). Can also be used for the same speaker when there is no discernible break

[ overlapping talk – one person talks whilst another is still speaking. The square bracket is aligned in the transcript. The stretch of overlap talk is represented by ]

In cases where there is overlapping talk, often necessary to interrupt the transcription of a turn at talk at a point where the talk of one speaker is incomplete because of space limitations. Where this happens, an equals sign is used at the end of the line of talk which has been interrupted and again at the beginning of the continuations to show that there is no discontinuation of talk and that the break is purely for the purpose of layout


(.) very short pause
(1.2) longer pauses, typically longer that two tenths of a second have timing shown between brackets

Contiguous/Simultaneous Talk

Not all sounds a speaker makes are considered words, e.g., certain vocalisations as well as breathing and laughter — no standard orthography

hh outbreathing (h indicates the length of the breath)
.h inbreathing
- incomplete speech

Other sounds which are difficult to represent in orthograpghy are placed in double brackets:

£ speaker has a hearable ‘smile voice’ (placed before and after words)
Other Speech Sounds
These features are used to show the general, relatively smooth, intonation contour over a segment of talk — however, there may also be a sudden shift up or downwards in pitch which is very marked within the general intonation contour

↑ rise in pitch (placed just before the pitch shift)
↓ fall in pitch (just before the pitch shift)
CAPS markedly louder than other talk
Emphasis used to show where a speaker places emphasis
◦quiet◦ quiet talk (placed before and after the segment which is quiet or whispered)
>word< faster talk (placed around the segment which is faster)
<words> slower talk (placed around the segment which is slower)
h breathy speech
*word* creaky voice (placed around the segment which is creaky)
Transcribing Prosody
There are points where a speaker’s talk is possibly complete and that at points of possible completion, speaker change is a possible next action

TRPs are not places where speaker change has to occur, but rather places where speaker change could occur

TRPs are the sites in conversation in which speaker change can be a ‘legitimate next action’.
Transition Relevance Places
Turn taking is one aspect of conversation in which locally sensitive fine-tuning takes place

At any given moment, the turn ‘belongs’ to a single speaker

When simultaneous speech and silence do occur in conversations, they are often ‘repaired'

The floor is constantly negotiated and renegotiated as a conversation goes along

CA holds that talk is ‘locally managed’: its patterns and structures result from what people do as they go along rather than from their being compelled to follow a course of action that has been determined in advance
The ability to ‘do’ something, be it proposing, requesting, accepting, showing surprise, or whatever!

Variety of grammatical units may function as TCUs: words, phrases, clauses and sentences and any linguistic constituent can function as a TCU

TCUs are context-sensitive and a decision about what constitutes a TCU can only be made in context

Within its context, a TCU is recognisably ‘possibly’ complete

If a piece of talk is not recognised as possibly complete at a particular point in the ongoing talk, then it is not a TCU

TCUs are projectable: that is, a recipient can know roughly what it will take to complete the unit of talk currently under way

Speakers are able to project where a TCU under way will be possibly complete and this projection is important for the organization of turn-taking: TCUs are characterised by the projectability of a possible completion point at some time in the future

The argument is then that TCUs end at places of possible completion. These points of possible completion are called transition relevance places (TRP)
Turn Construction Units
Conversation Analysis 1
Illustrates workings of a deeper rule of sequencing in talk
A summons-answer sequence
A summons opens a conditional relevant for a second part of a sequence, an answer
A called party typically answers the telephone ring issuing the summons by saying Hello?
The Police’s “Hello” is a response to the “empty” answer slot: “Hello” redoes the summons
The example reflects the regular operation of adjacency pairs in general and summons-answer sequences in particular: the sequencing of moves provides for a co-ordinated entry into the conversation, and for an orderly exchange of turns within the conversation

SAT approach to discourse focuses on knowledge of underlying conditions for production and interpretation of acts through words

“I promise to be there tomorrow” performs the act of ‘promising’ and “The grass is green” performs the act of ‘asserting’

Words may perform more than one action at a time: contexts help to separate multiple functions of utterances from one another

SAT provides a means by which to segment texts, and thus a framework for defining units that could then be combined into larger structures
Speech Act Theory
Conversation Analysis
Three utterances, what do they really mean and how do you know?
It's freezing in here.
Big girls don't cry.
I could really go for a pizza.
Its illocutionary force is an outcome of the relationship between two different speech acts
This utterance labelled as indirect speech act
These two understandings are largely separable by context (the former associated with tests of physical ability, the latter with dinner table talk)
Gricean pragmatics suggests that human beings work with very minimal assumptions about one another and their conduct, and that they use those assumptions as the basis from which to draw highly specific inferences about one another’s intended meanings
Lack of obvious connection between A’s utterance and B’s
Lack of connection doesn’t prevent us from trying to interpret B’s utterance as cooperative

Hearers supplement literal meaning with an assumption of human rationality and cooperation these allow A to infer that B has implicated that Smith has a girlfriend in New York despite lack of connection between A’s and B’s remarks, B implicates that which he must be assumed to believe (Smith has a girlfriend in New York).
Speech Act Theory
The Ethnography of Communication
Interactional Sociolinguistics
Power in Talk
Social organisation can only be understood by actual instances of social interaction

Therefore, ethnomethodology tends to ignore the information actually transmitted during interaction, concentrating more on how the interaction was performed
Key Point
Harvey Sacks and the suicide line
Elizabeth Stokoe and the neighbourhood disputes
Write a short conversation transcript of you talking to a friend on the phone. You asking your friend to come pick you up at uni, but your friend can't come. How would the conversation go?
There are many different kinds of 'laughing' and 'crying
Hepburn, Alexa. "Crying: Notes on description, transcription, and interaction." Research on Language and Social Interaction 37.3 (2004): 251-290.
In a conversation, how do you know when it is your turn to talk?
What stops you and everyone else talking at the same time?
Conversation Analysis 2
Garfinkel, H. (1967) Studies in Ethnomethodology, Cambridge: Polity.
Goffman, E. (1964) ‘The neglected situation’, American Anthropologist, 6 (2), 133-6.
Green, J., Franquiz, M. and Dixon, C. (1997) ‘The myth of the objective transcript: transcribing as a situated act’, TESOL Quarterly, 31, 172-6.
Liddicoat, A. (2007) An Introduction to Conversation Analysis, London: Continuum.
Sacks, H., Schegloff, E. and Jefferson, G. (1974) ‘A simplest systematics for the organisation of turn-taking for conversation’, Language, 50, 696-735.
Main Topics
Conversation Analysis
Speech Act Theory
Interactional Sociolinguistics
Critical Discourse Analysis
Conversation Analysis 3
Ethnography of communication — approach to discourse based in anthropology (shares concern for holistic explanations of meaning and behaviour)

Impetus for approach was Dell Hymes’s challenge to Chomsky’s well known refocusing of linguistic theory on the explanation of competence (i.e., tacit knowledge of the abstract rules of language)

Hymes proposed that scholarship should focus on communicative competence: the tacit social, psychological, cultural and linguistic knowledge governing appropriate use of language (including, but not limited to grammar)

Communicative competence includes knowledge of how to engage in everyday conversation as well as other culturally constructed speech events (e.g., prayer, public oratory)
Ethnography of Communication

An informant told me that many years before he was sitting in a tent one afternoon during a storm, together with an old man and his wife. There was one clap of thunder after another. Suddenly the old man turned to his wife and asked, “Did you hear what was said?” “No”, she replied, “I didn’t catch it.” My informant, an acculturated [Ojibwa] Indian, told me he did not know at first what the old man and his wife referred to. It was, of course, the thunder. The old man thought that one of the Thunder Birds has said something to him. He was reacting to this sound in the same way as he would respond to a human being, whose words he did not understand. (Hallowell, 1964, in Schiffrin, 1994: 8)
Ethnography of Communication

“Communication” cannot be assumed to be constant across cultures

Cultural conceptions of communication deeply intertwined with conceptions of person, cultural values, and world knowledge

Communicative behaviour is never free of the cultural belief and action systems in which it occurs
Ethnography of Communication
Ethnographic approaches seek to locate each particularity within a set of universally applicable possibilities, but at the same time, to build those possible generalizations from a representative collection of particular instances
Ethnography of Communication

Interactional sociolinguistics -- diverse origins stemming from anthropology, sociology and linguistics

Shares the concerns of all three fields with culture, society and language
Interactional Sociolinguistics
Following an informal graduate seminar at a major university, a black student approached the instructor, who was about to leave the room accompanied by several other black and white students, and said:
Could I talk to you for a minute? I’m gonna apply for a fellowship and I was wondering if I could get a recommendation?
The instructor replied:
OK. Come along to the office and tell me what you want to do.
As the instructor and the rest of the group left the room, the black student said, turning his head ever so slightly to the other students:
Ahma git me a gig! (Rough gloss: “I’m going to get myself some support.”)
(Gumperz and Tannen, 1979)
Interactional Sociolinguistics
CDA: concerned with the hidden agenda of discourse — focuses on how reality is constructed

CDA adopts a critical attitude to traditional ways of thinking and talking about reality, subjectivity (the condition of being a person) and knowledge
Analysts typically work with ‘institutional’ rather than ‘ordinary’ talk

Actual examples are analysed closely by paying attention not only to content but also to form
Critical Discourse Analysis
Some cases of simultaneous speech are classed as overlaps: they result from the new speaker’s failure to project the end of the last speaker’s turn with complete accuracy

The new speaker comes in at the point where s/he thinks the last speaker will finish, but either the timing is slightly off or else the new speaker is mistaken in thinking the last speaker is close to completion of a turn

Overlaps of this kind are common but often short and they start close to a potential turn transition relevance place

They are not instances of rule-breaking, rather they are unintended errors in the application of the mechanism described by Sacks et al.
Instead, Sacks et al. suggest that there is an ordered set of rules for the allocation of the next turn:

Current speaker selects next speaker (or if this mechanism does not operate, then…)
Next speaker self-selects (or if this mechanism does not operate, then …)
Current speaker may (but does not have to) continue …
Turn Allocation Mechanism
The turn-allocation mechanism that takes precedence over the alternatives is for the current speaker to select the next speaker:

Current speaker selects next speaker
If a speaker ends their turn by shifting gaze to the person on the left and saying ‘and that’s just like what happened to you last year, isn’t it?’, then the next turn is marked as belonging to whoever has been addressed
If that person remains silent, it is an accountable silence—not just anybody’s silence but specifically the silence of the person selected to speak next

Next speaker self-selects
Someone other than the current speaker selects themselves by starting to speak — scope for simultaneous speech to occur because more than one speaker simultaneously self-selects; but the normal pattern is for this situation to resolve itself with only one of the self-selectors continuing to hold the floor

Current speaker may continue
Second option for if no one self-selects — it is open to the current speaker to continue
At the next turn transition relevance place, the same options apply in the same order all over again
Turn Allocation Mechanism
Speakers are aware that a turn consists of one or more (but not fewer) ‘turn constructional units’

people listening someone use their knowledge of the possible unit types to project the end point of the turn currently in progress.
being able to do this is important, because the end of a turn constructional unit is potentially a ‘turn transition relevance place’ — a point at which speaker change may occur
projecting the end of a turn involves attending to the content of what is said, the prosodic and grammatical structure of the speech, and aspects of nonverbal behaviour

When a turn transition relevance place is reached, what ensues is not a random free-for-all, with everyone present having an equal chance of getting the floor next
Turn Allocation
In other cases, however, a new speaker may start to speak at a point in the last speaker’s utterance that cannot possibly be a turn transition relevance place

This is not overlap but an interruption, and for some analysts it is not just a violation of the turn-taking system but a hostile act designed to deny the current speaker their legitimate right to the floor

Is it always hostile though?
Overlaps and Interruptions
That part of a stretch of talk in which transition may occur — characterized as commencing just prior to a TRP and finishing just after the end of a TRP

The idea of a transition space gives a sense of duration to the locus of speaker change and it is possible to identify a normal transition space, in which there is no gap and no overlap

The normal value for the transition space, a beat of silence, indicates that nothing special is being done in the transition between speakers

However, it is possible that the transition space may be longer than normal, for example, as a gap, or shorter than normal, as in the case of overlap — both possibilities have an interactional importance above and beyond speaker change itself
Transition Space
One way to reduce transition space is for the next speaker to latch his/her talk to the talk of the prior speaker —there is no beat of silence between the turns, but there is also no overlap.

(Jefferson, 1986 in Liddicoat, 2007)

The transition between these turns at talk is done with what Jefferson (1986) calls ‘absolute adjacency’ — the normal value for a beat of silence is missing

Overlapping talk can either be problematic or unproblematic
Small amounts of overlap do not usually seem to be problematic as they are not treated as such by participants
Longer overlaps may be problematic and the speakers may do things in their talk to deal with them — term interruption is best reserved for these problematic overlaps
Reduced Transition Space
When a silence is not attributable, it may become quite prolonged, and may result in a lapse in the talk

However, where a silence is attributable to an individual participant, it is likely to be repaired if it becomes too long (we will look at repairs in Week 4) because it is interpretable as indicating some problem for the talk

However, the nature of the problem is not specified by the increased transition space itself, but rather by the context in which the silence is heard
Attributable vs. Unattributable
(Button and Casey, 1984 in Liddicoat, 2007: 80)

The silence is hearable as belonging to one of the participants (Joy)
Harry has produced a turn at talk which requires further talk from Joy — an answer to his question
Harry has selected next speaker in his turn and this next speaker has an obligation to speak on completion of this turn — silence therefore attributable to Joy and her silence is interactionally relevant. She is not speaking in a place where she is required to speak
While it is true that neither party is speaking during the silence, this is not a complete description of the pause, as talk is accountably absent for only one of the participants
Increased Transition Space
Increased transition space — lengthened transition space results in a silence in the talk

Silence can occur at the end of a completed action in the talk, such as after the answer to a question, and the silence is not attributable to any particular speaker:

Increased Transition Space
Another possible source of overlap is a simultaneous start by two self-selecting speakers
(Sacks et al, 1974 in Liddicoat, 2007)
Problematic Overlap
(Jefferson, 1986, in Liddicoat, 2007)
Overlap: Gaining a turn
Some overlap occurs at a point in the talk which is prior to the beginning of the transition space—that is, it does not orient to the upcoming completion of talk

Overlap is not quickly resolved by one speaker reaching possible completion and so longer overlap is a possibility in these contexts
(Sacks, Schegloff and Jefferson, 1974 in Liddicoat, 2007: 87)
Problematic Overlap
1 from (Sacks, Schegloff and Jefferson, 1974 in Liddicoat, 2007) & 2 from (Jefferson, 1973 in Liddicoat, 2007)
Unproblematic Overlap
When two speakers want to talk on different topics, this often gives rise to SKIP-CONNECTING. This is where each speaker relates to the last utterance but one–their own—and ignores the last speakers contribution:
A: I think my hair needs cutting
B: I’m fed up of having to work late
A: I had it cut just three weeks ago but its a mess
B: I’m not staying behind tomorrow
A: What do you think?

Are there any examples in the transcript?
Topic Conflict
How can we stop other people interrupting us?
Voiced Pauses (um, er)
Utterance Incompletors (or co-ordinating conjunctions) such as and, but
Incompletion Markers (if, since, although)
Pre-structuring Devices (I’d like to make two points)
Floor Seekers or Story Prefaces (Do you want to hear a joke?)
Preventing Interruptions
Look for examples of interruptions in the transcript:

What does and does not constitute an interruption?

Can you find any interruptions that occur at possible completion points? Any that do not occur at PCPs?

What might lead us to interpret someone’s entry into the conversation as being “rude”?
Data Analysis: Interruptions
‘Utterances that are split across speakers present a canonical example of participant coordination in dialogue. The ability of one participant to continue another interlocutor’s utterance coherently, both at the syntactic and the semantic level, suggests that both speaker and hearer are highly coordinated in terms of processing and production. The initial speaker must be able to switch to the role of hearer, processing and integrating the continuation of their utterance, whereas the initial hearer must be closely monitoring the grammar and content of what they are being offered so that they can take over and continue in a way that respects the constraints set up by the first part of the utterance.’ (Purver, 2009)
Second-Speaker Completions

DAN: The guy who doesn’t run the race doesn’t win it [but he doesn’t lose it
ROGER: [B’t lose i
Second-speaker completions
Jefferson (1973) identifies 3 kinds of second speaker completions:

Speakers can add a completion to another speaker’s otherwise complete utterance without pause
Speakers come in at just the right moment with their own proposed completion of an uncompleted utterance
Speakers predict the ending and attempt to say the same thing at the same time
Second-speaker completions
A participant in talk-in-interaction can be so ‘tuned in’ to another person’s utterance that he/she may predict its ending and come in with their own offering
Second-Speaker Completions
Current speaker selects next speaker (by name or by topic)

OR, if not:

Next speaker self-selects

OR, if not:

Current speaker may continue (but does not have to)

Turn Allocation
Read through the transcript

Look at all the utterances where someone takes a turn

Can you work out how they get the right to talk?
Data Analysis: Turn Allocation
Example of PCP

Sacks et al. suggest that conversation is made up of units (TURN CONSTRUCTION UNITS: TCUs) which are recognizable as either incomplete or possibly complete

The next speaker can begin as soon as the current speaker has reached a POSSIBLE COMPLETION POINT (PCP) also known as a ‘TURN TRANSITION RELEVANCE PLACE’
What constitutes a turn?
Sacks et al (1974) asserted that even in informal conversation:

Speaker change occurs and (usually) recurs
Only one person usually speaks at a time
Transitions (from one speaker to another) are commonly made without gap or overlap
Orderly Turn-taking
Cameron, Deborah (2001) Working With Spoken Discourse. London: Sage.
Cook, Guy (1989) Discourse. Oxford: OUP
Coulthard, M. (1977) An Introduction to Discourse Analysis. Harlow: Longman.
Ervin-Tripp, S. (1979) ‘Children’s Verbal Turn-taking’ in Cook (1989, p.52)
Ferguson, J. (1975) ‘Interruptions in spontaneous dialogue’, paper delivered to BPS conference, Stirling, cited in Coulthard (1977, pp.57)
Graddol, D., Cheshire, J. and Swann, J. (1987) Describing Language. Milton Keynes: Open University Press.
Hutchby, Ian and Robin Wooffitt (1998) Conversation Analysis: Principles, Practices and Applications. Oxford: Polity Press
Jefferson,G. (1973) ‘A case of precision timing in ordinary conversation: overlapped tag-positioned address terms in closing sequences’, Semiotica 9/1, pp.47-96, cited in Coulthard (1977, p.55)
Nash, Walter (1985) The Language of Humour. London: Longman
Purver, Mathew et al. (2009) ‘Split Utterances in Dialogue: A Corpus Study’, Proceedings of SIGDIAL 2009: the 10th Annual Meeting of the Special Interest Group in Discourse and Dialogue. London: Association for Computational Linguistics pp. 262–271.
Beattie, G.W. (1983) Talk: An Analysis of Speech and Non-verbal Behavour in Conversation. Milton Keynes: Open University Press, cited in Graddol (1987, pp.150-151)
Sacks, H. Schlegoff, E.A. & Jefferson, G. (1974) ‘A Simplest Systematics for the Organization of Turn-taking in Conversation’, Language, vol.50, No.4, pp.696-735, cited in Graddol (1987, p.150)
Schegloff, Emmanuael A. (2007) Sequence Organisation In Interaction: A Primer in conversational analysis: Vol 1. Cambridge: CUP
ten Have, Paul (2006) Doing Conversational Analysis: A Practical Guide. London: Sage
Tracy, Karen (2002) Everyday Talk: Building and Reflecting Identities. New York: The Guildford Press

Reference List
B cuts in at a possible completion point but A has not finished turn:
‘Accidental’ Interruptions
Speakers come in at just the right moment with their own proposed completion of an uncompleted utterance

LOUISE: No, a Soshe is someone who [is a carbon copy of their friend
ROGER: [drinks Pepsi
Second-speaker completions
Speakers can add a completion to another speaker’s otherwise complete utterance without pause
Second-speaker completions
Can you identify any second-speaker completions in the transcript?
Can you put the second-speaker completions into any categories?
Data Analysis
Second-speaker completions
There are points where a speaker’s talk is possibly complete and that at points of possible completion, speaker change is a possible next action — places at which speaker change could be appropriate

In other words, PCPs are not places where speaker change has to occur, but rather places where speaker change could occur
Possible Completion Points
We have an awareness of what constitutes a turn and an understanding of when a turn may be coming to an end

We have ways of allocating turns (and recognizing when we have been selected to speak)

There are surprisingly few overlaps (e.g. instances where more than one person speaks at a time

Ervin-Tripp (1979) found that overlap occurs in about 5% of conversation or less

There are rarely long silences in talk-in-interaction

Beattie found that in over a third of speaker transitions, the gap of silence was equal to or less than one-fifth of a second
Orderly Turn-taking
B cuts in at a point that is not a possible completion point:
‘Rude’ Interruptions
In both cases, is B trying to take the floor?
Cameron, D. (2001)
‘Supportive’ Interruptions
BEN: An’ there-there wz at least ten miles of traffic bumper tuh bumper=
ETHEL: =Because a’ that.
Speakers predict the ending and attempt to say the same thing at the same time
What's the difference?
Levels of analysis
However, order observable in conversation does not imply an overarching uniformity in conversational structure which is generalizable across conversations; participants themselves construct conversations in orderly ways
Conversation is neither random nor unstructured
Order is repeatable and recurrent:
patterns of orderliness found in conversation are repeated, not only in the talk of an individual speaker, but across groups of speakers. The achieved order is therefore the result of shared understanding
Order is produced, situated and occasioned:
order is produced by the participants themselves for the conversation in which it occurs - this means that in analysing conversation, orderliness being documented is not externally imposed by the analyst, but internally accomplished by the participants
Talk can be
strategically employed
to achieve communicative goals
Strategic use of talk is not a set of rules, but rather the production of interactional effects which are achieved through the use of talk in a particular context
Talk is orderly because of the recognizable achievement of the same outcome through similar methods in similar contexts
Conversation Analysis
Ethnomethodology and CA
Garfinkel and Goffman provided an impetus for the development of CA by establishing a concern for investigating the orderliness of everyday life
Harvey Sacks developed an approach to the study of social action which sought to investigate social order as it was produced through the practices of everyday talk
“Talk is socially organized, not merely in terms of who speaks to whom in what language, but as a little system of mutually ratified and ritually governed face-to-face action, a social encounter.” (Goffman, 1964: 65)
Specimen approach:
each data segment used for developing an account of conversational behaviour is not a statement about reality but rather a part of the reality being studied
‘Unmotivated looking’
repeated listening to the same data in order to discover what is happening
analyst is open to discovering what is going on in the data, rather than searching for a particular pre-identified or pre-theorized phenomenon
allows for the noticing of action being done in the talk and of the procedures through which the action is accomplished in the talk
Think of three kinds of conversations. What is the function of these conversations and how does the function affect the form?
Language is never used all by itself -- tone of voice, facial expressions and gestures when we speak. What language means and what we can do with it is often a matter of how it is combined with these other things
Language is always “in the world” -- what language means is always a matter of where and when it is used and what it is used to do.
Language is always situated in at least four ways:
in the material world
in relationships
in history
in relation to other language
The way we use language is inseparable from who we are and the different social groups to which we belong -- we enact our identities (multiple and fluid rather than singular and fixed)
Structure above the sentence -- pronoun it (anaphoric, referring back) in the second sentence but refers to something mentioned in the first -- must be the baby and not some previously unmentioned object like a rattle or banknote. Cohesion is a property of texts
The baby cried and then the mommy picked it up
It’s a narrative -- the sequence of events in the texts mirrors the sequence of events in the reality being reported
We infer not just sequence but causality—the mommy picked up the baby because it cried
Default assumption is that the parts of the announcement on either side of the conjunction relate to one another in the same way as the two parts of the baby/mommy sequence

We take account not simply of the linguistic properties of the announcement, but also what we know of the real world
Discourse tied up with our social identities and our social relationships

DA helps us understand how societies are put together and maintained through the day-to-day activities of speaking

DA is not just the study of language -- it’s also politics, power, psychology, romance and lots of other things!
No, it’s terrible!
Lovely day, isn’t it?
(passes a cigarette lighter)
Have you got a light?
When people talk, the words they actually utter may not be what they mean

Pragmatics: the study of meaning in interaction

“Meaning is not something which is inherent in the words alone, nor is it produced by the speaker alone, nor by the hearer alone. Making meaning is a dynamic process, involving the negotiation of meaning between speaker and hearer, the context of utterance (physical, social and linguistic) and the meaning potential of an utterance (Thomas, 1995: 22).
At the bus stop, “have you got a light?” has the syntactic form of a question, specifically the kind that can be answered yes or no

Does it resemble “have you got a cold?”?
Are the two questions doing the same thing?

This all makes sense if we consider that the function of the question is not to elicit information: it’s a request

This particular function doesn’t have to be realised in the form of a question

“give us a light” (imperative)

Relation of form to function is not one-to-one but many-to-many
Formal criteria: find regular patterns of specific examples (e.g., expressions, overlaps, false starts) e.g., where in the discourse it occurs and what it is used to do
Functional criteria e.g., posing a question like “how do people use spoken language to do X?” (e.g., accept a compliment, express disagreement). Identify all the data that could be classified; in other words, find the forms in which the chosen function is realised
PROBLEM: the same form doesn’t always communicate the same thing, and nor is a given function only be realised by one linguistic form
Form and Function
Form and Function
Not every failure to observe Grice’s maxims necessarily gives rise to implicatures

Hearers only look for implicatures if something prompts them to do so – it has to be obvious that the speaker is flouting a maxim

Clearly, it is possible for people to hold back information or utter untruths without making this obvious

Flouting is meant to be noticed
Violating is not
Flouting a maxim
A is asking B about a mutual friend’s new boyfriend

A: Is he nice?
B: She seems to like him.
Flouting a maxim
Grice, H.P. (1975) ‘Logic and Conversation’, In P. Cole and J. Morgan (eds) Syntax and Semantics 3: Speech Acts, New York: Academic Press, 41—58

Linfoot-Ham, K. (2006) Conversational Maxims in Encounters with Law Enforcement Officers, International Journal of Speech, Language and the Law, 13(1), 23—54

Thomas, J. (1995) Meaning in Interaction: an introduction to pragmatics, London: Longman
A majority of this content is the adapted work of Dr Samuel Larner: many thanks, Sam!

Have many functions from signalling attentiveness to showing (dis)agreement
Typically “small words” like yes, no, really, right, good, great, true, sure, exactly, fine, wow, I see
Or just vocalisations such as uh, huh, uhm, mmm, uh-uh, mm-mm, uh-huh, mm-hmm
Back channeling
Other-initiated repair
Usually next-turn

A: I had a surfing lesson on holiday
B: a what?
A: a surfing lesson
Self-initiated repair
Within same turn as trouble source
In third turn

Example: (a) (b)
A: we went to Sam’s on Mond- on Tuesday (.) no, sorry to Joe’s
B: so you went to Joe’s on Monday?
A: no, on Tuesday (c)
Pre-closing Sequence
A: okay then A offers a possible pre-closing form: i.e. A passes
B: right B passes as well, converting the utterances into an actual pre-closing sequence
Closing Sequence
A: ‘bye then F closing sequence: adjacency pair
B: ‘bye S
Closing Conversations
Ali: you want me bring you anything? F / Offer
Bet: no nothing S /Refusal
Ali: okay SCT

Okay indicates receipt of the information and acceptance

Don: is this aimed accurate enough? F / Q
Joh: yes S / A
Don: great SCT

Here great indicates the first speaker’s ‘stance’ towards the second speaker’s response
Post Expansion: Sequencing Closing Thirds
Sometimes the adjacency pair may be followed by a third utterance which acts to bring a close to the sequence and in some cases to provide assessment
Post Expansion: Sequencing Closing Thirds
Side Sequences occur where the conversation is halted by a request for clarification, and then carried on again

Such inserts are often features of repair in conversation.
Bet: was last night the first time you met Missiz Kelly? Fb
Mar: met whom? Fins
Bet: missiz Kelly Sins
Mar: yes Sb
Insert Expansion: Side Sequences
The second speaker stalls by producing his/her own
first pair part which must be answered before he/she produces the appropriate second pair part
i.e. “if you answer mine, I’ll answer yours”

Base Q
A: do you want some cake Fb Q

B: are you having some Fins Q
A: yes Sins A

Base A
B: oh alright then Sb A
Insert Expansion: Counters
Announcing the intention:

Pre-pre Sequence – stating the intention
Sue: I have a big favour to ask you FPre
Mel: go ahead SPre

Pre-sequence – the lead-up
Sue: remember that red blouse you made? FPre Q
Mel: ya SPre A

Base – asking the favour

Sue: well can I borrow it this weekend? Fb Q / request/favour
Mel: sure no problem Sb A / compliance
Pre-Pre Sequences!
Sam: do you go down Park Road on your way home FPre Q

Sue: yeah SPre A

Sam: do you mind giving me a lift? Fb Q / Request
Sue: no that’s fine Sb A /Compliance

Here yeah (SPre ) gives the go-ahead for the request to be made
Pre-Sequences: Request /Favour
Sam: what are you up to tonight? FPre Q
Sue: oh I’ve got an assignment to finish
for tomorrow SPre A

Here SPre acts as a ‘block’

It suggests an invitation may be declined and thus discourages or blocks the invitation from being given at all (thus both speakers save face)
Expansion of Adjacency Pairs
Pre-Sequences: Invites
Preferred responses are likely to be short and to the point, while dispreferred responses are commonly accompanied by …accounts…’I’ve got a lot to do’, excuses…’I’ve got to leave in about five minutes’…disclaimers…’I don’t know’ …and hedges

This means the answer takes longer to arrive!
(Schegloff, Emmanuel A., 2007, p.65)
Mitigation / Elaboration of Dispreferred Responses
Hey Janet’s just got engaged
Really? – that’s great!

Utterances such as ‘really?’ , ‘she did?’ ‘has she?’ signal the newsworthy-ness of the announcement (i.e. they mark the content as providing new information). Jefferson (1981) refers to them as ‘news marks’

Usually such utterances are the preferred second pair part – especially if they match the first speaker’s own attitude to the news
Announcements and News Marks
Adjacency Pairs: Preferred/Dispreferred Second Pair Parts
Because we usually comply with the rules of politeness and seek not to impose on other people such first pair parts are often couched as questions although they can take other forms e.g.,

Could you give me a lift?
Give me a lift
First Pair Parts
Avoiding the second pair part (the PCP remains)!
Q and A
These are:

Two utterances long
The utterances are produced successively by different speakers
The pair has a distinct order consisting of
First pair part (F)
Second pair part (S)

The first pair part predicts the occurrence of the second, and even if the second does not occur immediately—it will usually occur in the end
Adjacency Pairs
Certain types of utterance determine the nature of the next utterance and – in some cases – the next speaker

Did you see Amy last night, Sue?

A question will usually be followed by an answer


Such a pairing (here Q-A) is known as an adjacency pair (Sacks’ term)

“Given a question, regularly enough an answer will follow”
(Sacks,H. Mimeo lecture notes. (1967-71) in Coulthard (1977 70)
‘One thing after another’
Cameron, Deborah (2001) Working With Spoken Discourse. London: Sage.

Cook, Guy (1989) Discourse. Oxford: OUP.

Coulthard, M. (1977) An Introduction to Discourse Analysis. Harlow: Longman.

Graddol, D., Cheshire, J. and Swann, J. (1987) Describing Language. Milton Keynes: Open University Press.

Hutchby, Ian and Robin Wooffitt (1998) Conversation Analysis: Principles, Practices and Applications. Oxford: Polity Press

Schegloff, Emmanuel A. (2007) Sequence Organisation in Interaction: A Primer in Conversational Analysis. Cambridge: CUP
Back channeling
Activity: Closing Conversations
Daphne: so that’s any Saturday except the seventh(.) right I’ll let you know when I’ve heard from the others
Paula: OK
Daphne: right then (passes: possible pre-closure)
Paula: I might be in London before that though shall I give you a ring? (no pass)
Daphne: yeah do that
Paula: OK I will
Daphne: good (passes: no new topic offered so possible pre-closure)
Paula: OK:: (passes: pre-closing sequence indicated by form and drawn out OK)
Daphne: take care then (passes turns into a closing sequence)
Paula: You too
Daphne: bye closing sequence
Paula: OK bye

Example from Cameron (2001: 99)
Conversations almost always end with a CLOSING SEQUENCE (e.g. Adjacency Pair)

F: Goodbye
S: Goodbye

This can only occur when speakers ‘agree’ not to introduce a new topic. This can be negotiated by the use of POSSIBLE PRE-CLOSING FORMS

See Coulthard,M. (1977 p. 86)
Closing Conversations
A: can I have a bottle of lager? Fb
B: are you over 18? Fins
A: no Sins
B: no S
Insert Expansion: Counters
Pre-sequences are initiated by F-speakers (those intending to issue a first pair part)

Insert expansion is a type of expansion which prospective S-Speakers can initiate

ACTIVITY: Insert Sequences in a police dispatch call
Expansion of Adjacency Pairs: Inserts
Ideally the second speaker takes the cue and the actual request isn’t necessary and a pre-emptive offer is made

Sam: do you go down Park Road on your way home FPre Q
Sue: yeah SPre A

Sue do you want a lift Fb Q /Offer
Sam that’d be great thanks Sb A /Accept

Notice how one utterance can act as a second pair part and also initiate a first pair part. The layout here is adapted to show the two-part nature of Sue’s single utterance
Expansion of Adjacency Pairs
Pre-Sequences: Request /Favour
Sam: what are you up to tonight? FPre Q

Sue: I’m not sure yet. I’m supposed to be doing my
assignment why? SPre A

Here the second speaker ‘hedges’ making a full response contingent on what the invitation is going to be

Sam: I was wondering if you’d like to go out for a drink
Fb Q/Invite
Expansion of Adjacency Pairs
Pre-Sequences: Invites
Q: would you like to come out for a drink with me tonight?
A: yeah, okay

Q: would you like to come out for a drink with me tonight?
A: well I’ve got this assignment due in at the end of the week and I’ve hardly thought about it yet so I think I’d better stay in tonight and make a start on it
Adjacency Pairs: Preferred/Dispreferred Second Pair Parts
In the examples below the second pair part that follows can (roughly) take one of two forms
Role play the two possible responses. Try to make your replies ‘natural’ (not just one word!)

Y’wanna drink?
Wanta come over here and talk this evening?
Could you give me a lift?
Could you turn your music down then please?
Activity: Second Pair Parts
Sometimes the question is also performing another kind of function:

Y’wanna drink? (offer)
Wanta come over here and talk this evening? (invitation)
Could you give me a lift? (request/asking a favour)
Could you turn your music down then please? (request/command)
We never had much money in those days did we? (assessments/assertions)
Hey, did you know Janet’s just got engaged!? (announcements)
Functions of Adjacency Pairs
Dispreferred second pair part is risky for first speaker and might cause embarrassment for the second speaker
A less direct ‘pre-sequence’ (FPre) may be used before the main first- pair part (Fb) e.g.

Here not a lot SPre acts as a ‘go-ahead’

Expansion of Adjacency Pairs: Pre-sequences
Interpreting Threats (Shuy, 1993: 98)
Interpreting Apologies
You have invited someone over for dinner on a weeknight and it is now after midnight and you have to be at work early in the morning

Possible indirect speech acts that could be made to encourage your guest to go home (although the last is certainly rude!)

(you look at your watch) Wow! It’s getting very late (representative)
You look so tired (expressive)
Do you work tomorrow? (interrogative)
There’s the door (representative)

Using the ‘wrong’ speech act is less direct than making a demand or a direct request — by making inferences, savvy listeners are given the opportunity to address the speaker’s needs — polite act
Direct and Indirect Speech Acts
Problems with analysing speech acts: they can be expressed indirectly

In other words, the locutionary force of the speech acts (meanings of words) might be very different from the illocutionary force (what they are actually doing with their words) e.g., “Do you have a pen?” uttered to perform the act of requesting

An indirect speech act is defined as an utterance in which one illocutionary act (a “primary” act) is performed by way of the performance of another act (a “literal” act)
Direct and Indirect Speech Acts
We figure out what people are trying to do with their talk by trying to match the conditions in which their utterance is made to the conditions necessary for particular kinds of speech acts

We use logic to try to figure out what the speaker is doing and what they are trying to get us to do

Need to analyse conditions in which the utterance is made to figure out what the speaker is actually trying to do

Felicity Conditions
Austin called the ability of an utterance to perform a particular action the ‘felicity’ (‘happiness’) of the utterance, and in order for speech acts to be ‘happy’, certain kinds of conditions must be met

What is said — for some speech acts to be felicitious they must be uttered in a certain conventional way

Who utters the speech act—the kind of authority or identity they have

To whom the utterance is addressed

The time or place the utterance is issued
Felicity Conditions
“I sentence you to five years in prison”
Unusual because the act of saying something officially brings about a new state of affairs

Imagine how your life would could change after each of the following utterances:
You’re fired
You have six months left to live

Some directives are warnings which sometimes look like a promise
You’re cruising for a bruising
You better check yourself before you wreck yourself
You are hereby warned that any attack will be met with full force
Speakers thank, congratulate, apologize, agree or disagree, insult, commiserate, swear, express regret or say something else that addresses the psychological state of the listener in some way
I’m very sorry
My bad
You’re a prat!
Used to get information that we do not know (or are pretending not to know)

What time is the meeting?
Is it cold outside?

The expectation is that the response will provide the information being requested
The speaker commits in some way to the truth of the statement made or has committed to some action in the future (such as promises)

Seem very similar to representatives — in the statements, “I assure you that Tom has left”, or “I know the reports have been completed”, but the speaker wants you to believe something beyond the simple fact of the statement
Most common speech act

A statement that supplies a fact:
The company was founded in 1976

Or a piece of information
I am tired

Or a description of some physical thing or condition
the car is red

These statements simply provide information that can be evaluated as true or false
John Austin — certain utterances, when they are spoken, have the effect of actually performing some action in the physical world
Performing Actions
Austin called these utterances that perform actions ‘speech acts’

Important thing is not so much their ‘meaning’ but their ‘force’, their ability to perform actions

All speech acts have three kinds of force:

Locutionary force — the force of what the words actually mean

Illocutionary force — the force of the action the words are intended to perform (e.g., promising, ordering, thanking)

Perlocutionary force — the force of the actual effect of the words on listeners (e.g., scaring, offending, threatening)
Most of the time, talk tries to accomplish something, whether direct (e.g., stop doing something) or abstract (e.g., create and sustain bonds)

Each utterance that we make has a function — a speech act

Speech Act Theory: conversation as a sequence of speech acts

Every utterance can be analysed as the realization of the speaker’s intent to achieve a particular purpose
Speech Acts
Jones, R. (2012) Discourse Analysis: a resource book for students, London: Routledge
Schiffrin, D. (1994) Approaches to Discourse, Oxford: Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Searle, J. (1969) Speech Acts: an essay in the philosophy of language, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Searle, J. (1979) A taxonomy of illocutionary acts, In Expression and Meanings. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Shuy, R. (1993) Language Crimes: the use and abuse of language evidence in the courtroom, Oxford: Blackwell
Please read:

Austin, J.L. (1962) How To Do Things With Words, In Jaworski, A. & Coupland, N, (2006) The Discourse Reader (2nd ed), London: Routledge, pp. 55—65
“Two perspectives on conversation”, In Jones, R. (2012) Discourse Analysis: a resource book for students, London: Routledge, pp. 163—170

Both are in the library and on Moodle
Directed Time
Cohen et al. (1986, in Jones, 2012: 104) argue that apologies often involve one or more of the following verbal strategies:

An expression of apology (I am sorry);
An explanation of account of the situation (I’ve had a lot on my mind lately);
An acknowledgement of responsibility (I know);
An offer of repair (how can I make it up to you?);
A promise of forbearance (I’ll never do it again).
The Perfect Apology
SAT provides a framework in which to identify the conditions underlying the production and understanding of an utterance as a particular linguistically realised action

Utterances perform different acts because of their “circumstances” and because of the knowledge that we have of the conditions and rules that constitute particular acts

Our knowledge of the rules for acts provides a systematic framework in which we can not only identify relationships between different speech acts (e.g., understand how a threat differs from a promise), but also use a single speech utterance to perform more than one speech act at a time
SAT and Discourse Analysis
Not just making a statement — also doing something — warning you not to smoke
A Statement (Representative)?
Searle (1979: 23) points out that there are a limited number of things that we do with language:
“we tell people how things are, we try to get them to do thing, we commit ourselves to doing things, we express our feeling and attitudes and we bring about changes through our utterances … often, we do more than one of these at once in the same utterance.”

How we do more than one thing at once with our words (i.e., the multiple functions of an utterance) is part of the important issue of indirect speech acts

Hearers are able to interpret indirect speech acts by relying upon their knowledge of speech acts, along with mutually shared factual information and a general ability to draw inferences

Multiple Functions
Special class of directives

Verbs which by their utterance perform an action
I christen this baby, Elizabeth”

These verbs sometimes act like ordinary verbs — when they are in the past tense or future tense, they are not performance verbs e.g., “yesterday, I christened a baby”

Performative verbs must also be a first person utterance
She now declares you man and wife

Certain conditions must be met before these words have official status — felicity conditions
“I now pronounce you husband and wife”
People frequently place orders, make demands or command people to do something — frequently imperative speech acts

By uttering one of these, our intent is to get someone to do something
Do your homework now
Finish the monthly report by tomorrow
Bring me a drink”

Besides the imperative form, there are other ways to accomplish these same activities
Directives (including performatives)
Types of Speech Acts
An utterance, taken either in isolation or within a social context, may have just one meaning

However, the function of the utterance can vary widely depending on the circumstances of the utterance
Importance of Context
Does the utterance fulfil the necessary conditions of a suggestion, one of which is optionality?
His expression shows that what he is ‘suggesting’ is not optional
Will there probably be unpleasant consequences for me should I fail to comply? Given these conditions, we can only conclude that what he is doing with his words is not making a suggestion, but issuing a threat
“Hey mate, I suggest you leave my girlfriend alone”
In each of these scenarios, the underlying meaning of the utterance is exactly the same, but the utterance is performing a very different function
“I forgot the book”
Cameron, D. (2001)
(Button and Casey, 1984 in Liddicoat, 2007: 80).

Either speaker could legitimately talk in the 0.2 silence second — silence is not attributable to anyone i.e., N’s silence is no more and no less relevant to the interaction than H’s. Neither party is talking and neither party is required to talk
Cultural differences in conversation?

Power in conversation?

Casual conversation vs. institutional talk?

Questioning strategies in casual conversation compared to classroom
Questioning strategies in casual conversation compared to police interviews
How does a parent get a child to something and how does a teacher accomplish the same?

Analyse jokes from a stand-up comedian and compare with jokes being told in casual conversation. Which of Grice’s maxims are flouted?
Compare and contrast how pragmatic manipulation is used for humour
Must use consent form (see Moodle)
Must make participants aware
Must not record:
Children or any other vulnerable people
Assignment 2
2,500 words (excluding data and appendices)

Deadline: 12pm (noon) on 9 May 2014


Must submit recordings of casual conversation:
During Seminars or individual tutorials
At any other pre-arranged time
CDs or USB sticks with assignment
Assignment 2
Be specific — in the description of expectations that people have about the different components. Sometimes involves asking probing questions or observing what people say or do carefully, paying close attention to detail
All components are not equal — participants may regard the expectations governing some components to be stricter than those governing others and that some behaviour might be regarded as more or less ‘compulsory’ while other behaviour might be regarded as ‘optional’
Compare and contrast — compare the speech event you are studying with one that is more familiar to help better notice those aspects of the speech event which you might be misunderstanding or taking for granted
Explore transgressions — find out what happens when participants fail to do what they are expected to do — appropriate behaviour usually passes unremarked upon, but inappropriate behaviour is often an occasion for participants to explicitly discuss their otherwise tacit assumptions and expectations. Therefore, noticing or talking with participants about mistakes, transgressions, inappropriate behaviour or ‘incompetence’ can be a good way to clarify what they regard as appropriate and why
Avoid Being Mechanical
Data come from meeting held at the C. Temple, whose members have come together to engage in a form of Christian worship

Temple is located in a working class area of S. London and its congregation is drawn from the local African Caribbean community (researcher was herself a member of that community with ties to C. Temple)

The form of Christianity practised is known as ‘Pentecostalism’

Pentecost is the event described in the New Testament when the Holy Spirit descended to inspire Jesus’s followers, who began to ‘speak in tongues’

Pentecostal worship is similarly understood to be inspired by the Holy Spirit

Meeting involves various activities which are common in church services (e.g., preaching, reading from the Bible, prayer, singing, testimony given by individual members of the congregation, administrative announcements etc.,) but overall style is distinctive

Most strikingly, members of the congregation do not speak only at designated points in the proceedings, but may intervene throughout ‘as the spirit moves them’
A Pentecostal Meeting
(Cameron, 2001:58—62)
Speech events occur within speech situations

The main distinction is coherence: participants tend to approach speech events with consistent sets of expectations that remain the same throughout the speech event

Contrast: participants’ expectations about the relevant features of context may undergo dramatic changes throughout a speech situation e.g., students eating lunch at the university canteen are likely to pay attention to different sorts of things than they do in a lecture during the same day

The way to distinguish between a speech situation and a speech event, then, is to ask if the same rules of SPEAKING apply throughout the phenomenon. If so, it can be regarded as a speech event

Notice that the same speech act, joking for example, can take place in many different kinds of speech events, and that different speech events, conversations for example, can occur in many different kinds of speech situations
Speech Situations
Speech events occur within broader speech situations and are made up of small speech acts (which we looked at last week) e.g., greeting, questioning, promising and insulting

E.g., a university lecture can be considered a speech event which is made up of smaller speech acts (e.g., asking and answering questions, giving explanations and illustrations of certain concepts)

Similarly, the speech event of a conversation may include smaller speech acts such as joking
Speech Acts
In seeking to account for “who says what to whom, when, where, why, and how”, Hymes developed a schema for analysing context

The speech event in which language occurs is the prime unit of analysis

The term ‘speech event’ refers to “activities … that are directly governed by rules or norms for the use of speech” (Hymes, 1972: 56). Speech events include interactions such as a conversation at a party, ordering a meal etc,.

A communicative activity that has a clear beginning and a clear ending and in which people’s shared understandings of the relevance of various contextual features remain fairly constant through the event (e.g., religious ceremonies, lessons, debates, and conversations)
Speech Events
This communicationally appropriate behaviour must depend on knowing certain rules (though these may operate, like grammatical rules, below the level of conscious awareness)

Hymes proposed the term ‘communicative competence’ — linguistic competence is about the rules of grammar; communicative competence is about the rules of speaking

Ethnography of speaking developed as a way to investigate rules of speaking that operate in particular communities
Communicative Competence
Any given instance of language use is analysed as part of a whole social situation

Ways of using and understanding language are analysed in relation to the wider culture in which they occur

Particular methodology—Ethnographers typically go and live with the people they wish to study for an extended time

Learn about community’s way of life both through observational techniques (e.g., recording things that happen, interviewing people) and through participating as much as possible in community activities themselves
Simultaneously ‘inside’ the culture, immersed in its day-to-day life, and ‘outside’ it, trying to understand the way its members think and act, and reflecting on their own progress towards that goal
Sociolinguistic approach to conversation

Ethnographic approaches to conversation have been led by Dell Hymes and are concerned with understanding the social context of linguistic interactions
Liaise with Stephen! Do not leave it until the end!!!! (individual tutorials in Week 10)

Gender differences in conversation?
Pragmatic inferences?
Interruptions (rude vs. accidental)?

Scripted talk vs. casual conversation?

Politeness: contrast between different groups?
Family vs. friends
Friends vs. strangers
Old vs. young
You are required to record, transcribe and analyze at least TWO samples of spoken discourse, one of which must be drawn from casual conversation

You should devise your own research question and you should attempt to answer that question by drawing on analysis of your data

Throughout your assignment you will be expected to draw on relevant theories and approaches to the analysis of spoken discourse. You should therefore select and justify an appropriate approach to discourse analysis and discuss the significant features in your data, relating the linguistic features to the contexts from which the data is drawn
Data-based Essay
Greatest danger — analyst simply describes the expectations participants have regarding each of the components in a rather mathematical way, like filling out a checklist, without offering much in the way of analysis

Model provides general idea of how the speech event happens, but does not tell us very much about why it happens the way it does

Analyst cannot stop at just describing the various components, but also needs to ask:
why different components have particular expectations associated with them
how the expectations associated with different components interact and affect one another, and
why certain components seem more important and other components less important to participants
Refine your Analysis
Not focused on rules and expectations, but rules and expectations about the circumstances

Components of SPEAKING model are not meant to provide an objective list of those elements of context — rather a set of guidelines an analyst can use in attempting to find out what aspects of context are important and relevant from the point of view of participants

The analyst determines the kinds of knowledge about the different components members of speech communities need to successfully participate in a given speech event, and how the different components are linked together in particular ways for different
It is the analysis of these components of a speech event that is central to the “ethnography of communication” or the “ethnography of speaking”, with the ethnographer’s aim being to discover the rules of appropriateness in speech events

The SPEAKING grid provides a necessary reminder of the contextual dimensions operating in any casual conversation

The ethnographic framework he initiated led not only to broader notions of the “communicative competence” language users display, but also to a recognition of the close relationship between speech events and their social/cultural contexts
Whilst the three units of analysis are analytically relevant (speech situations, speech events, speech acts), the most important is the mid-level one, the speech event, since it is essentially the event to which ‘rules of speaking’ apply

Hymes proposed that speech events have a set of components, or characteristics, which the analyst needs to look at in order to produce a satisfactory description of any particular speech event
Performance is what language users do

Competence is what they must know in order to be able to do it — not conscious knowledge which a linguist could investigate simply by asking language-users to explain what they are doing — it involves abstract rules and generalizations that people are not aware they ‘know’

Dell Hymes — a ‘competent’ language user needs to know more than just a set of rules for forming grammatical sentences; s/he also needs to know how to use language in a contextually appropriate way

Not chance that people regularly produce the ‘right’ kind of utterance at the right time to the right person
Competence and Performance
A sociolinguist studying the language of youth subcultures (punks, emos, goths etc,.)
seek out one or more groups prepared to let a researcher spend time with them regularly
join in their activities
record their conversation
talk to them about what they do and why

Tend not to spend as long living among their subjects as anthropologists
Participant Observation
Things to consider
Data-based Task due in hard copy on
17 March 2014
Assignment 1
Download and complete task from Moodle. Plus mini-essay
Cameron (2001) explains that in Conversation Analysis, "talk is 'locally managed', meaning that its patterns and structures result from what people do as they go along rather than from their being compelled to follow a course of action that has been determined in advance" (p. 90). Drawing on evidence from the 'Broken Shoulder' data, what evidence is there that talk is 'locally managed'?
Assignment 1 due on 17 March!
One further factor that determines which strategy a person will use to communicate his or her relationship with another person is the topic of the conversation

Independence strategies more common when topic of conversation is serious/potentially embarrassing/weight of imposition is seen to be great

Involvement strategies more common when topic is less serious/outcome more predictable/weight of imposition seen to be relatively small
Power, Politeness and Face Strategies
Power, Politeness and Face Strategies
Not rules, but rather broad sets of expectations people draw on to decide how to act towards other people and how to interpret others’ behaviour towards them

Since power and distance are relative rather than absolute, and because interaction often involves the sometimes subtle use of power and distance, people usually employ both independence and involvement strategies, mixing them tactically depending on the situation and what they are trying to accomplish
Face Systems
We always approach interactions with certain sets of expectations about how independence and involvement strategies will be used to communicate information about power and intimacy

We call these expectations ‘face systems’
Face Systems
Interaction, however, hardly ever involves just one activity

We often engage in a variety of different activities within the primary framework

Medical examinations might involve multiple frames

E.g., Tannen and Wallet (1987) analyse how a doctor used a ‘playing’ frame while examining a young child, and then switches back to a ‘consultation’ frame when talking with the child’s mother

These smaller, more local frames are called ‘interactive frames’

When we are interacting with people, we often change what we are doing within the broader primary framework and, like Bateson’s monkeys, we need ways to signal these ‘frame changes’ and ways to negotiate them with the people with whom we are interacting
Interactive Frames
We bring to most interactions a set of expectations about the overall activity in which we will be engaged — the ‘primary framework’ of the interaction

E.g., when we are a patient in a medical examination, we expect that the doctor will touch us, and we interpret this behaviour as a method for diagnosing our particular medical problem
Primary Framework
In order to understand one another, we have to interpret what other people say in the context of some kind of overall activity in which we are mutually involved

The meaning of the utterance “please take off your clothes” is different if uttered in the context of a medical examination or in the context of his/her apartment

For different kinds of activities we have different sets of expectations about what kinds of things will be said and how things ought to be interpreted

We call these sets of expectations ‘frames’
Framing Strategies
Independence strategies — strategies used to establish or maintain social distance from the people with whom we are interacting either because we are not their friends, or, more commonly, because we wish to show them respect by not imposing on them

E.g., using more formal language in terms of address, trying to minimise the imposition, being indirect, apologising and trying to depersonalise the conversation
Two Broad Strategies for Negotiating Identity
One’s face is one’s public image rather than one’s ‘true self’ — the social image that constitutes face is not the same in every interaction in which we engage. We ‘wear’ different faces for different people

Image is ‘negotiated’ — it is always the result of a kind of ‘give and take’ with the person or people with whom we are interacting, and throughout a given interaction the image that we present and the images other project to us may undergo multiple adjustments

This image is ‘mutually granted’ — successfully presenting a certain face in interaction depends on the people with whom we are interacting cooperating with us. If one person’s idea of the relationship is different from the other person’s idea, chances are one or the other will end up ‘losing face’
Fundamental aspect of identity  our identities are always constructed in relation to the people with whom we are interacting

Some people are our friends, and others are complete strangers. Some people are our superiors and others are our subordinates

When we talk, along with conveying information about the topic about which we are talking, we always convey information about how close to or distant from the people with whom we are talking we think we are, along with information about whether we are social equals or whether one has more power than the other

The strategies we use to do this are called face strategies
Face — ‘the positive social value a person effectively claims for himself by the line others assume he has taken’ (1967: 41)

A person’s ‘face’ is tied up with how successful he or she is at ‘pulling off’ his or her performance and getting others to accept his or her ‘line’

Frames — ‘definitions of a situation [that] are built up in accordance with principles of organisation which govern events’

The concept of framing relates to how we negotiate these ‘definitions of situations’ with other people and use them as a basis for communicating and interpreting meaning
‘Face’ and ‘Frames’
Interactional Sociolinguistics — concerned with the (sometimes) very subtle ways people signal and interpret what they think they are doing and who they think they are being in social interaction

Grounded in the work of Gumperz (anthropology and linguistics) as well as the fields of pragmatics and CA
Goffman, E. (1967) Interaction Ritual: essays on face-to-face behavior. Chicago: Aldine.

Jones, R. (2012) Discourse Analysis: a resource book for students, Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.

Ladegaard, H.J. (2011) ‘Doing power’ at work: responding to male and female management styles in a global business corporation, Journal of Pragmatics, 43, 4—19.

Scollon, R., Scollon, S.W., and Jones, R.H. (2012) Intercultural Communication: a discourse approach (3rd ed.), Oxford: Blackwell.

Tannen, D. and Wallet, C. (1987) Interactive frames and knowledge schemas in interaction: examples from a medical examination/interview, Social Psychology Quarterly, 50(2), 205—216.
Even though our expectations about face systems form the background to how we communicate about relationships, people often strategically confound these expectations to their own advantage
Power, Politeness and Face Strategies
Power, Politeness and Face Strategies
Although expectations about when independence and involvement strategies are appropriate and what they mean very across cultures and groups, most people enter interaction with three basic ideas:

In interactions where the parties are social distant but relatively equal, both parties are likely to use independence strategies (deference face system);
In interactions where people are close and relatively equal, they are likely to use involvement strategies (solidarity face system); and
In interactions in which one person has more power than the other (regardless of their social distance), the more powerful one is more likely to use involvement strategies and the less powerful one is more likely to use independence strategies (hierarchical face system)
Face Systems
Goffman took his idea of frames from the work of the anthropologist Gregory Bateson

Bateson noticed that monkeys displayed hostile signals, seemingly fighting with, or attempting to bite, one another

Soon became clear that the monkeys were not fighting; they were playing

Realised that they must have some way of communicating to one another how a particular display of aggression should be interpreted, whether as an invitation to fight or an invitation to play
Adapted from Jones, R. (2012: 21)
Involvement vs. Independence Strategies
Goffman — compared social interaction to a dramatic performance

Social actors in everyday life, like stage actors, use certain ‘expressive equipment’ such as costumes, props and settings to perform certain ‘roles’ and ‘routines’

Our goal in these performances is to promote our particular ‘line’ or version of who we are and what is going on
Social Interaction as Dramatic Performance
Clashes or ‘disorders of discourse’, which:

‘result from gaps between distinct and insufficiently coincident cognitive worlds: the gulfs that separate insiders from outsiders, members of institutions from clients of those institutions, and elites from the normal citizen uninitiated in the arcane of bureaucratic language…’ (Wodak, 1996:2)
‘…a form of interaction in which the relationship between a participant’s current institutional role (that is, interviewer, caller to a phone-in programme or school teacher) and their current discursive role (for example, questioner, answerer or opinion giver) emerges as a local phenomenon which shapes the organisation and trajectory of the talk.’

Thornborrow, 2002: 5
Institutional Language
‘all representation is mediated, moulded by the value systems that are ingrained in the medium used for representation; [CDA] challenges common sense by pointing out that something could have been represented some other way, with a very different significance’ (Fowler, 1996:4)
Ehrlich, S. (2001) Representing Rape London: Routledge
Fairclough, N. (1989) Language and Power Harlow: Longman
Fairclough, N. (1992) Discourse and Social Change Cambridge: Polity Press
Fairclough, N. (1995) Critical Discourse Analysis: The Critical Study of Language London: Longman
Van Dijk, T. (1996) ‘Discourse, Power and Access’ in Caldas-Coulthard, C.R., & Coulthard, M. (eds.) Texts and Practices: Readings in Critical Discourse Analysis London: Rouledge
Wodak, R. (1996) Disorders of Discourse London: Longman
References & Further Reading
Restricting access to the resources both produces and maintains patterns of social inequality

CDA commits itself to the exposure of these patterns, and ‘wherever possible, it does so from a perspective that is consistent with the best interests of dominated groups’ (van Dijk, 2001)
Concerned with institutional language

Not a methodological approach – more an umbrella term for research with a similar political agenda

‘Biased – and proud of it’ (van Dijk, 2001: 96)
‘demanding’ more money

‘threatening’ to walk out
Glasgow Media Group (1980)
‘offering’ terms

‘appealing’ to workers...
Which is the more ‘reasonable’ party (or rather, which are you more sympathetic towards?)?
What does discourse do?
TEUN A. VAN DIJK citing Fairclough and Wodak (1997: 271-80)
Power relations are discursive
Discourse constitutes society and culture
Discourse does ideological work
Discourse is historical
The link between text and society is mediated
Discourse analysis is interpretative and explanatory
Discourse is a form of social action.
David Cameron today promised the full force of the law would be used on "the mob" who attacked a car carrying Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, and smashed property in central London last night.
He and the Metropolitan police commissioner, Sir Paul Stephenson, dismissed suggestions that only a small number of people were involved in violence during and after a Commons vote paving the way for a trebling of university tuition fees.
The prime minister admitted concerns over royal security must be addressed, but said the responsibility for violence lay with the protesters. "We want to learn the lessons from that but, above all, we want to make sure that the people who behaved in these appalling ways feel the full force of the law of the land."
Cameron condemned the "completely unacceptable" behaviour of protesters. "It is no good saying this was a very small minority. It was not. There were quite a number of people who clearly were there wanting to pursue violence and to destroy property.
"I know that the Metropolitan police commissioner is going to be working hard to report on this. I also know, quite rightly, he will look into the regrettable incident where the Prince of Wales and his wife were nearly attacked by this mob. We want to learn the lessons from that."
The attack on the royal car was not the fault of the police, he said. "This was the fault of people who tried to smash up that car."
What is the definition of ‘power’?
Who has power at the University? In your home? In the UK? In the world?
What is the relationship between language and the exercise of power? How can language be used to express and sustain power (incorporating your definition of ‘power’ from above)?
Underline the participants and circle the processes in the article.
What does the interaction between the participants and processes tell us about the ideology of the writer and the reader?
What does this tell us about who has and does not have power?

Imperatives are often used for purposes other than commands — the speaker may have no ability to command someone to do something nor have the intent to do so, nor does it make sense within the context so listeners don’t interpret it as such:
Have a good time on vacation (expressive)
Get yourself a beer from the fridge (offer)
Swim at your own risk (warning)
A promise is activated by the words made, not by the speaker’s intent or ability to keep the promise

“I promise to pay for your university fees” — a promise created by the specific words used

Even if I do not intend to keep my promise or am unable to keep it, I have still made one
Informants familiar with “Black speech styles” recognised the utterance to be formulaic and suggested that the student’s use of this formulaic utterance was “a way of alluding to the dilemma often discussed among Blacks of having to get support from the establishment” (p.318)

“The speaker was capitalizing on this shared system to justify his behavior in the eyes of his fellow-students, even though he was violating what some perceive as the constraint against using dialect in an academic setting” (p.318)

Many of the white informants could not understand “Ahma git me a gig” and did not recognise it as formulaic. They thought student had slipped into his conversational style and was only addressing his fellow students of the same ethnic group
Focuses on how interpretations of the speaker’s intent are related to different linguistic qualities of the utterance -- Interpretations gathered by asking listeners (including but not limited to those present during the actual interchange) what they thought the speaker meant to convey, and relating those situated inferences to the means by which the speaker actually presented the utterance
Interactional sociolinguistics is like CA in its concern with the problem of social order, and how language both creates, and is created, by social context

Both approaches also focus on detailed analysis of particular sequences of utterances that have actually occurred

But unlike interactional sociolinguists’ willingness to judge participants’ interpretation and intent with the help of contextual information, conversation analysts seek generalizations about context—and about social conduct and social life—within the progression of utterances themselves
One of the most important insights from Gumperz — people belonging to different groups have different ways of signalling and interpreting cues about conversational identity and conversational activities, and this can sometimes result in misunderstandings and even conflict

Not surprisingly, interactional sociolinguistics has been used widely in studies of intercultural communication.
Most of the time, other people help us to maintain our line, especially if we are willing to help them maintain theirs. Sometimes, however, people’s ‘lines’ are not entirely compatible, which means they need to negotiate an acceptable common ‘line’ or else risk spoiling the performance for one or more of the participants

Goffman contributed to DA the concepts of ‘face’ and ‘frames’
The concept of ‘face’ in its more everyday sense will be familiar to many — honour or reputation

Many cultures have the notion of ‘giving’ people face (helping them to maintain a sense of dignity or honour) and of ‘losing face’ (when people, for some reason or another, suffer a loss of dignity or honour)

Interactional sociolinguists have a more specific definition of face:

‘The negotiated public image mutually granted to each other by participants in a communicative event’ (Scollon et al, 2012)
Involvement strategies — strategies used to establish or maintain closeness with the people with whom we are interacting—to show them that we consider them our friends

E.g., calling people by their first names or using nicknames, using informal language, showing interest in someone by, and emphasising common experiences or points of view

While such strategies can be used to show friendliness, they can also be used to assert power. Teachers, for example, often use such strategies when interacting with young students, and bosses sometimes use them when interacting with their employees
Rather than simple reflections of power/distance relationships, face strategies can be regarded as resources that people use to negotiate social distance, enact power relationships, and sometimes manipulate others into doing things which they may not normally be inclined to do:

A person might use involvement strategies with another not because they are close, but because he or she wants to create or strengthen the impression that there is a power difference

Similarly, a person might use independence strategies not to create a sense of distance from the person they are interacting with, but rather to endow the topic under discussion with a certain ‘weightiness’

In other words, face strategies are resources that people make use of to manage and sometimes change relationships on a moment-by-moment basis
Do online activity in preparation of next week
CD: At that point is when he grabbed my hair and wrapped it around his hands and pushed my face down between his legs and gave me an ultimatum...

SC: So in fact was the fellatio, was that the last act of sex that was between the two of you before everything died down...
Ehrlich, S. (2001) Representing Rape London: Routledge
Does what we call ‘reality’ have any independent existence apart from our perceptions and representations of it?

Do people have stable, fixed identities (e.g., as men or women), and is there such a thing as ‘human nature’?
There is an imbalance in the access members of a society have to social, and specifically linguistic, resources;

These resources are controlled by social institutions;
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