Language in Context: From Pragmatics to Conversation Analysis
Postgraduate: Level 7
Thursday 08 October 2020
Friday 18 December 2020
22 May 2020
Requisites for this module
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.
• 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
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
No additional information available.
Two-hour lecture/seminar per week, with audio and video data to analyse
- 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
Exam format definitions
- Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
- In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
- In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
- In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary,
for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.
Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Rebecca Clift, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Email: email@example.com, Room: 4.332, Tel: x2888,
Dr Maciej Baranowski
University of Manchester
Senior Lecturer in English Sociolinguistics
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).
Disclaimer: The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its Module Directory is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can
be necessary to make changes, for example to programmes, modules, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements,
industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to modules may for example consist
of variations to the content and method of delivery or assessment of modules and other services, to discontinue modules and other services and to merge or combine modules.
The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications and module directory.
The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.