LG621-7-AU-CO:
Language in Context: From Pragmatics to Conversation Analysis

The details
2020/21
Linguistics
Colchester Campus
Autumn
Postgraduate: Level 7
Current
Thursday 08 October 2020
Friday 18 December 2020
15
22 May 2020

 

Requisites for this module
(none)
(none)
(none)
(none)

 

(none)

Key module for

(none)

Module description

Starting with the issue of whether it is possible to posit rules of language use, we shall explore how what is said is not necessarily what is meant, by examining the central role of intention in language use, proceeding to consider the notions of Gricean implicature and Speech Act Theory. Consideration of some of the important issues relating to implicature and illocutionary force leads us to examine how such concerns have, in recent years, taken an empirical turn with the study of conversation, or, so-called 'talk-in-interaction'.

The second half of the course will consider how it is possible to make systematic interpretations based on our knowledge of conversational structure. The normative structures of the mainstream conversation analytic tradition will be examined. By looking at a range of contexts we shall investigate how actions are performed, identities constructed and context achieved through talk. We shall then consider how conduct which transcends the verbal (such as gaze and gesture) contributes to our presentation of ourselves in interaction with others; and finally we explore the relationship between grammar and interaction.

Module aims

• To introduce students to the major topics in mainstream Pragmatics
• To introduce students to various approaches to the nature of ‘context’ in linguistic study
• To familiarise students with various perspectives on language as action
• To introduce students to the theories, concerns and methods of the mainstream conversation analytic tradition in its approach to spoken interaction
• To show students how to bring to bear a range of conceptual and analytical tools on the data of naturally-occurring talk
• To illuminate the means by which participants construct identities through talk
• To familiarise students with the means by which gaze and body movement interact with the production of language
• To prepare students to undertake their own investigation of an aspect of conversational organisation, using appropriate methods for the collection, transcription and analysis of data

Module learning outcomes

By the end of this module, you will:
• Be familiar with the theory of, and major topics in, Pragmatics
• Understand the various treatments of ‘context’ in linguistic study
• Have an understanding of the various approaches to language as action
• Be familiar with the theories, concerns and methods of the mainstream conversation analytic tradition in its approach to spoken interaction
• Be able to bring to bear a range of conceptual and analytical tools on the data of naturally-occurring talk
• Be familiar with the means by which participants construct identities through talk
• Be familiar with the means by which gaze and body movement interact with the production of language
• Be able to undertake your own investigation of an aspect of conversational organisation, using appropriate methods for the collection, transcription and analysis of data

Module information

No additional information available.

Learning and teaching methods

Two-hour lecture/seminar per week, with audio and video data to analyse

Bibliography

  • Levinson, Stephen C. (1983) Pragmatics, New York: Cambridge University Press. vol. Cambridge textbooks in linguistics
  • Clift, Rebecca. (2016) Conversation analysis, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Austin, J.L. (2014) 'How to do things with words', in The discourse reader, Abingdon: Routledge.
  • Grice, H.P. (2014) 'Logic and conversation', in The discourse reader, Abingdon: Routledge.
  • Schegloff, Emanuel A. (2007) Sequence organization in interaction: a primer in conversation analysis I, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • John Heritage and Geoffrey Raymond. (2005) 'The Terms of Agreement: Indexing Epistemic Authority and Subordination in Talk-in-Interaction', in Social Psychology Quarterly: American Sociological Association. vol. 68 (1) , pp.15-38

The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course. The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students. Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework   Essay    100% 

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%

Reassessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Rebecca Clift, email: rclift@essex.ac.uk.
Rebecca Clift
Email: rclift@essex.ac.uk, Room: 4.332, Tel: x2888,

 

Availability
Yes
No
No

External examiner

Dr Maciej Baranowski
University of Manchester
Senior Lecturer in English Sociolinguistics
Resources
Available via Moodle
Of 740 hours, 0 (0%) hours available to students:
740 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).

 

Further information
Linguistics

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