LING-484 Discourse Analysis: Conversation
Spring for 2010-2011
This combined lecture/workshop course will introduce you to seminal works by leading scholars from a variety of approaches to the analysis of conversational discourse and offer you multiple opportunities to carry out small-scale analyses of talk-in-interaction. Topics include: theories of conversational involvement and conversational inference; conversational coherence; the relationship between discourse and consciousness; transcription theory and practice; discourse markers; discourse topic; turn-taking; adjacency pairs; conversational repair; repetition; constructed dialogue; linguistic politeness; conversational style; framing; footing; positioning; identity construction; and conversations within institutional contexts.
Early in the semester, you will audio- or video record a naturally-occurring conversation and select a half-hour segment for the first assignment. For all subsequent assignments throughout the semester, you will analyze a short excerpt (3-4 minutes) of this longer segment that you will transcribe three different ways. Each week you will apply aspects of the assigned readings to these conversational excerpts. On three occasions, you will write up these applications as a 3-page assignment, one of which may be revised and resubmitted.
In addition to this written work, you will also be responsible for one 10-minute class presentation (probably with another student or two, depending on the number of participants in the class) that shows how the readings apply to your conversation(s). In a 12-15 page final paper, you will analyze a different conversation, the larger conversation from which the small excerpt came, or discourse of another type. This final paper is not simply a long assignment (i.e. applications of a single reading) but rather employs a combination of approaches or an approach not discussed in class and includes minimally three relevant sources not read in class.
Because most of our time together will be spent comparing and contrasting analytical approaches, identifying relative strengths and weaknesses of the readings, and applying aspects of these readings to transcripts within in-class small-group workshops, I expect you to attend class every week and come prepared to engage fully in these discussions and workshops.
Successful participation in Discourse Analysis: Conversation fulfills the Department of Linguistics distribution requirement in discourse analysis and has no prerequisites. I welcome students with interests in any theoretical approach to the study of language.
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