Language in Use

| February 12, 2016

ASSIGNMENT 1: Language in Use

Description of task: Language in interaction: Conversation Analysis.

1. Theoretical introduction
In your introduction you should a) explain why conversation (or ‘talk-in-interaction’) is an important area of investigation for discourse analysts, b) briefly explain the basic principles and methods of Conversation Analysis and their relevance to the episode or episodes of talk you have chosen for analysis (see below). (˜20% of word count)

2. Recording and transcription of live conversation
You can use episode(s) of talk from broadcast sources (TV, radio, YouTube etc.) or, with the participants’ permission, you could record live conversation (e.g. between friends) – if you are going to record your own data you must talk to your module tutor in good time beforehand. You should transcribe the talk as accurately as you can for the purposes of your analysis – at least 1 minute of talk in total. (˜20%)

3. Analysis
Present a detailed and close analysis of your talk episode(s) using the methods and principles of Conversation Analysis. (˜50%)
Suggested topics
You could select one or more of the topics below:
• a whole conversation (overall organization)
• a section or sections of a conversation: openings/closings, assessments, agreements/disagreements etc.
• turn-taking: the Sacks et al. (1974) model, interruptions and overlaps
• adjacency pairs and preference organization
These topics would work for whole episodes or for comparing more than one episode. They would also work for considering differences and similarities between mundane, semi-institutional and institutional talk.

4. Conclusion
Explain the significance of your analysis for understanding language in use. (˜10%)

Word length: 2500 words maximum (including transcribed examples but not Bibliography).

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