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Journal of Pragmatics 36 (2004) 1–24 www.elsevier.


Introducing polylogue
Catherine Kerbrat-Orecchioni
Groupe de Recherches sur les Interactions Communicatives§, ´ ` ` CNRS-Universite Lumiere Lyon 2, 5 av. Pierre Mendes France, 69676 Bron, France Received 26 February 2002

Abstract The introduction to this special issue begins by defining the notion of ‘polylogue’. Then, after having summarized the results of our previous work on ‘trilogues’, I propose a survey of the general perspective adopted by the authors, and of the main analytical tools they use. Finally, the articles gathered in the volume are introduced in more detail in relation to the particular situations and data they deal with. # 2003 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Dilogue/trilogue/polylogue; Plurilevel analysis; Typology of polylogues; Participation framework

1. Criticism of dyadic communication models Dyadic communication is widely thought to be the communicative situation par excellence—not only by linguists, semioticians, psychologists, and communication theoreticians, but also by ‘the man on the street’, as witnessed, for example, by the fact that the word dialogue, despite its etymological origins,1 is generally understood to mean ‘conversation between two people’. This can, of course, be explained by the confusion between the two paronymous prefixes di- and dia-, but is doubtless also
All the authors of the articles composing this issue belong or are associated to this research team, working in Lyon (France). The different texts which are collected here must in fact be considered the result of a collective research project. Some of the articles were originally written in French, some others directly in English. All the data we analyse was originally produced in French. The whole text was translated or edited by Louise Nicollet, whose thoroughness we are sincerely grateful for. Many thanks also to Dick Janney for his encouragement, his patience, and his perfectionism in the revision process. E-mail address: (C. Kerbrat-Orecchioni). 1 Since the Greek prefix ‘dia-’ means not ‘two’, but ‘through’. In order to avoid ambiguity, we prefer to speak of ‘dilogue’ when referring to exchanges between two people. 0378-2166/03/$ - see front matter # 2003 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/S0378-2166(03)00034-1


C. Kerbrat-Orecchioni / Journal of Pragmatics 36 (2004) 1–24

due to the deep-rooted tendency to associate interaction with interaction between two people, considered as the prototype of all forms of interaction. For some time now, this ‘privilege’ in favour of dyadic communication has been severely criticized by numerous researchers such as Hymes, Goffman, Levinson, and specialists in the field of Conversation Analysis (henceforth, CA), e.g.: The common dyadic model of speaker-hearer specifies sometimes too many, sometimes too few, sometimes the wrong participants. (Hymes, 1974: 54) Traditional analysis of saying and what gets said seems tacitly committed to the following paradigm: two and only two individuals are engaged together in it, [. . .] the two-person arrangement being the one that informs the underlying imagery we have about face-to-face interaction. (Goffman, 1981: 129) In the study of verbal interaction, there has been undoubtedly some bias towards the study of dyadic interaction. (Levinson, 1988: 222–223) Levinson even speaks in this connection of a ‘straightjacket’, and he shows that ‘dyadic triumph’ has been achieved at the price of greatly limiting, first, the situations which are examined (in any society, dyadic exchanges tend, in fact, to be in the minority), second, the cultures under consideration (many societies accord an even more important role than Occidental societies do to ‘multi-party gatherings’2 and to all sorts of relayed or ‘mediatized’ communication). So Levinson regards this dyadic diktat as ethnocentristic. As for CA, in their seminal article on the turn system, Sacks et al. (1974/1978) claim that their ‘simplest systematics’ of turn-taking is applicable to all conversations, no matter how many participants are involved. But at the same time, they recognize that ‘‘numbers are significant for talk-in-interaction’’, as the title of a more recent article by Schegloff (1995) recalls. The conversational data used by CA specialists is in fact diversified in this respect.3 However, it cannot be said that analyses in this field have exhaustively covered the topic in which we are interested, that is, the description of all the phenomena which characterize the functioning of polylogues. First, the situations looked at by CA correspond to focused interactions whose participation formats and consequent functioning are relatively simple (in any case much simpler than those of the interactions which will be examined here). In addition, CA concerns itself mainly with local phenomena such as the turn-system,
2 Also see Aronsson (1996), who asserts that in many non-Occidental cultures, basic communication situations are of ‘polylogal’ type (e.g. in traditional African societies, the mother–child dialogue generally takes place in the presence of siblings or other members of the family). 3 In his Lectures on Conversation, Sacks already bases his observations mainly on a set of data composed of a therapy session bringing together an adult therapist and a group of teenagers. Concerning SSJ’s article on turn system, O’Connell et al. (1990) note, however, that 71% of the 35 examples mentioned only involve two speakers; and that the large majority of empirical studies carried out in this perspective (exactly 82% out of a corpus of 22 publications—the sample is therefore limited, and stops in 1990) is based on ‘dilogal’ data.

4 for example. on the contrary. the interactions involving a divorced couple and their respective notaries studied by Bruxelles And before him. for example. with speakers considered only as being ‘incumbents’ of these parties. claims that ‘‘the turn-taking system as described in SSJ organizes the distribution of talk not in the first instance among persons. Thus defined.5 This term is etymologically appropriate. 5 4 . Even if mechanisms of alignment based on statuses.C.’’ This can involve: their relative alignment in current activities. 523–524): ‘‘two parties does not necessarily mean two persons’’. (1995: 40) For us. whereas our perspective in this issue is rather ‘dialogal’. play an important role in conversation. such as the co-telling of a story or siding together in a disagreement. 2. The notion of polylogue For the reasons discussed above. or their several attributes relative to a momentarily current interactional contingency. allowing. roles. we will refer to as polylogal all communicative situations which gather together several participants. or rather multi-participant interactions (conversation. or ‘dialogism’. Sacks (Lectures vol. let me say that the situations analysed in this issue involve variable numbers of participants. whether they are host or guest. Thus. Kerbrat-Orecchioni / Journal of Pragmatics 36 (2004) 1–24 3 whereas many other aspects can be taken into account that are affected even more by the number of participants. 1977). being only one particular type of talk-in-interaction). the derived adjective. the notion of polylogue. in the ordinary sense. In a completely different sense from the meaning attributed to this term by Julia Kristeva (in Polylogue. and it is easy to handle. turn-taking operates per se between speakers. Picking up on Maurice Blanchot’s idea of ‘parole plurielle’. Kristeva’s approach is related to what is commonly known as ‘polyphony’. and above all. ranging from four (e. in designating the topic dealt with in this publication we will not speak of ‘multi-party conversations’ but of multi-participant conversations. speakers’ objectives. I will come back to this point. We will also speak of polylogues. already poses some problems owing to the difficulty of clearly defining the category of ‘participants’. ‘trilogue’. Schegloff (1995: 32–33). To use the terminological distinction (introduced by Eddy Roulet) between dialogal discourse (which brings together several distinct speakers) and dialogic discourse (which refers to a plurality of enunciative voices. I. Thanks to this notion of party.g. the succession of turns is first and foremost a phenomenon which takes place between individuals. it is possible ‘‘to introduce order into this potentially chaotic circumstance’’ constituted by the large number of participants. for proponents of CA. but among parties. but for the moment. real live individuals. The notion of ‘party’ (which. as we will see. more abstract entities which can be embodied by one and the same speaker). in point of fact. although seemingly trivial. Paris: Seuil. etc. we will say that Kristeva’s perspective is ‘dialogic’. Finally. for example. it fits into a coherent paradigm (‘dilogue’. turn-taking operates not between speakers but between ‘parties’. that is. whether—as a new increment is being added to a number of interactional participants—they are the newly arrived or pre-present. ‘tetralogue’ etc. covers diverse phenomena) belongs to another level of analysis.).

O’Connell et al. The hearers’ roles We were particularly interested in studying the distinction between an ‘addressed recipient’ and a ‘non-addressed recipient’. we constantly observe fluctuations in address.g. In our studies. A flirts with B. the minimal form taken by polylogues. II: 99–101).2. violations of speaker-selection rules. the pragmatic value of an utterance can be modified in the course of the exchange (an initially informative segment being. here. reconverted into a demand for confirmation. see Kerbrat-Orecchioni (1997). 1995). but also toward certain other hearers’’ (an order. (1996). can have the value of an informative act for ‘lateral’ hearers. An utterance can also simultaneously convey different pragmatic values for its different hearers. This variability is in part a result of lack of balance in floor-holding. Trilogues The objective of our earlier studies was to bring to light the specific features of trilogues that distinguish them from dilogues. or vice versa). exchanges in the media. ‘Trilogues’. (1978: 23). (1990). Goodwin (1981) shows very clearly that.g. the hospital shift-change briefing sessions studied by Grosjean) all the way to a theoretically infinite number of participants (e. Kerbrat-Orecchioni / Journal of Pragmatics 36 (2004) 1–24 and Kerbrat-Orecchioni) through various intermediate situations (e. for example. along with the change in addressee. Raffler-Engel (1983). Given the continuity between these two categories.4 C. 7 See Sacks et al. vol. A similar idea is elaborated by Clark and Carlson (1982: 333). and the related question of addressing cues. Trilogues were studied at every level of their functioning. for a synthesis of this research project. through a large range of data (everyday conversations. The organization of turn-taking Turn-taking7 in trilogues is generally characterized by variability in alternation patterns. 3. who stated that an utterance addressed to B can very well ‘‘do something’’ to C that is different from what it does to B (if. and possibly even some additional values). for example. and interruptions and simultaneous talk. ‘‘then she may be teasing C’’). 6 . I will just briefly outline the objective and the results of that earlier work. the Internet newsgroups studied by Marcoccia). for example. see Edelsky (1981). secondary addressee.1. it is preferable to talk of main addressee vs. particularly applied to complex participation formats.6 3. Power and Dal Martello (1986). Results which led to a publication (Kerbrat-Orecchioni and Plantin. who note that ‘‘speakers perform illocutionary acts not only toward addressees. 3. This idea was already put forward by Sacks (Lectures. Ford et al. I: 530–534 and vol. for the particular case of three-party conversations. For more or less radical (and more or less justified) critiques of this approach. which are most often fuzzy. and talk in different institutional contexts). were eliminated from this study because our research team has previously carried out work on these configurations.

Abstract p. which more often than not have a collaborative function. [. The first impression created by the overlaps is one of unbearable cacophony. In trilogues. and a fortiori in multiparticipant interactions. translated from the French): ‘‘Six people—or rather six voices—find themselves unable to pursue a ‘normal’ dialogue due to the silence of a seventh person. unequal participation is first based on the number of turns.2.1. there are constant overlaps of three or even four voices superimposed over each other. I will be completely satisfied if it is B who answers me. As is quite normal. analysed by these authors. increases in trilogues.2.or herself from the exchange.C. This possibility increases where the participants are more numerous. multi-participant conversations are both more conflictual (there are more opportunities for a struggle for the floor. but deeper analysis reveals the concerted organization of these interruptions. 1998. It should be noted that such intrusions do not always constitute real conversational offenses. . 93. as the play shows. only unequal lengths of turns make for disproportionate amounts of participation in the interaction. for example. 9 A discussion on a French radio program. 1995) and in situations involving professionals (doctors. Intrusions (which happen when the participant who takes the floor is not the one who has been selected by the current speaker) are frequent. and it is always possible for a participant to be left out. In Muller’s (1995) study of discussions among eight French ¨ students. ¨ they sometimes follow an ‘efficiency rule’ which overrides Sacks et al. 8 . undermining the conversation. and for violations or failures in the functioning of the turn-system) and more open to mediation and conciliation The potentially destabilizing presence of a silent participant is superbly illustrated by Nathalie Sarraute’s play Le Silence (1967). Interruptions and simultaneous talk The frequency of interruptions and simultaneous talk. another critic answers and no one even entertains the thought of taking offense. trilogues often feature violations of conversational rules that are unknown in dilogues.2. for example. Or to stay with the example of ‘Le masque et la plume’ [‘The Mask and the Quill’]:9 there are times when Bastide [the moderator] mistakenly asks for a commentary or explanation from one of the critics who has nothing whatsoever to say on that subject.8 3. According to Dausenschon-Gay and Krafft (1991: 148–149). Violations of speaker-selection rules In the selection of the next speaker. for different reasons and with varying effects. in interviews of couples (Marcoccia. selection rule: If for example I ask A what time it is.2. General lack of balance in floor-holding In dilogues. as well as the variety of ways in which these are carried out. on the other hand. To summarize. or to temporarily eliminate him. Kerbrat-Orecchioni / Journal of Pragmatics 36 (2004) 1–24 5 3. based on the following situation (Paris: Folio.] Why does Jean-Pierre remain so obstinately silent? Why doesn’t he answer when someone asks him a question? What is he thinking? Does he pass judgment on his more talkative partners? Is he hostile? indifferent?’’—all these puzzling and unanswered questions will end up. judges) and children accompanied by their parents. .3.’’ (translated from the French) 3.

for the analyst. and the phenomenon of ‘truncation’ takes different forms.3.) in trilogues is also different from that of dilogues: Ã Within one and the same exchange. They also place fewer constraints on participants. The structuring of dialogue The structuring of interaction into hierarchically organized units (monologal ‘moves’. These represented more than half the exchanges in the data studied. expectations. Ã The structural organization of trilogues is clearly more complex than that of dilogues (intertwining of exchanges. 3. etc. The level of interpersonal relationships With regard in particular to the relation of dominance among the participants. pretending to have forgotten. In conclusion. the trilogue allows certain members of the triad to form coalitions. For the participants themselves. dialogal ‘exchanges’. etc. etc. knowledge. like the reacting move. and found that exchanges (defined as a succession of moves dependent on a single initial move) with 3–5 speakers and 4–8 moves were dominant. responding in a confused manner. Kerbrat-Orecchioni / Journal of Pragmatics 36 (2004) 1–24 than dilogues. the more numerous they are. the functioning of trilogues is in all regards more complicated to describe than that of dilogues. it is necessary to re-think the ‘canonic’ structure of the exchange as well as the notion of ‘truncation’. as Muller (1997: 386) points out in his comment on Lonardi and Viaro’s ¨ (1990) work on interviews between therapists and their patients: In contradictory situations of this kind. Speakers must take all their recipients into account to some degree. LV suggest that these contradictions . Ã The question of the completeness/incompleteness of exchanges is posed in different terms. conflicts over structuring. objectives. can be composed of several contributions produced by different speakers. studied the division of exchanges in discussions within groups of nine pre-adolescent children.6 C.4. the initiating move. the more delicate conversational activities become. Delamotte-Legrand (1995). for example. and the recipients themselves are intrinsically heterogeneous due to differences in status. Analyzing in detail such a contradictory response. The complexity is obviously even greater in configurations with more participants. a notion developed by Theodor Caplow which will be investigated later (see Bruxelles and KerbratOrecchioni. when we are dealing with configurations as complex as these. This situation can lead to apparently contradictory utterances. members respond by contradicting themselves. Delamotte-Legrand’s findings suggest that.). since the obligation to cooperate—being in a way ‘diluted’ by the larger group—is not as strong for each individual speaker. 3. this issue).

via immersion in the data. of course. a new possibility appears: ‘splitting-off’. and unpredictability. and several types of units. The first impression created by an audio recording of such an interaction is one of such confusion and anarchy as to discourage any attempt at analysis. as we will try to show in the following analyses.’’ . Beyond four participants. the speaker attempts to tell. these moments of ‘dilogues within trilogues’ must not be dealt with as real dilogue. Beginning with four participants. instability. the seriousness of a FTA (Face Threatening Act) increases in the presence of third parties. Describing the interaction therefore requires above all observing gradual shifting from dilogal structures to trilogal ones and vice versa—observing. we consider ‘turns’ and ‘moves’ to be two different kinds of monologal units. When a triad is conversing. Levels of analysis We distinguish among several levels of analysis. For example. the forming of distinct conversational groups which continue parallel exchanges (see Traverso. are their flexibility. since they take place in the presence of a third party. Flexibility is. But then. the problems of describing the interaction increase dramatically (especially in case of informal non-focusing interactions). and Paddy Austin goes so far as to state (1987: 20): ‘‘An individual’s face is vulnerable in direct proportion to the number of people to whom she presents that face in any given interaction. in comparison with dilogues. that is. within one and the same turn. even greater in interactions involving more numerous participants. but non-A to his co-present wife. . this fact is always relevant and should be taken into account.C. i. . this issue). as pointed out by Brown and Levinson (1987: 12). In any case. the mechanisms of ‘connecting’ and ‘disconnecting’ the third participant. 10 For example. the moments of ‘genuine’ trilogue (in which all three members are actively engaged) never last long. 4. a proposition A to the therapist. that is. instead.e.10 The main characteristics of trilogues. Kerbrat-Orecchioni / Journal of Pragmatics 36 (2004) 1–24 7 can be read as cases of ‘multiple recipient design’. islands of organization and regularity begin to emerge.1. they alternate with phases which seem rather dilogal in character. which are identifiable at all levels of their functioning: this is the major conclusion to which our observation of trilogues has led. involving two active speakers and a third participant who can adopt various attitudes and show extremely variable involvement in the interaction in progress. Principles of analysis Our study of polylogues is based on the same principles which we developed for describing trilogues. 4.

which is composed of three successive ‘utterance-events’ (sections according to Goodwin’s terminology).11 These segments are sometimes very short. these establishing and terminating open. it is at this ‘macro’ level that the notion of script comes into play. that is. Roulet (1992: 92–93): In fact. answers. that is. or in multi-focus settings where different encounters are closely intertwined with each other. or Roulet (1981). on the other hand. ritual brackets will also be found. Kerbrat-Orecchioni / Journal of Pragmatics 36 (2004) 1–24 *Turns (as well as Turn-Constructional Units) are ‘‘epiphenomena’’ (Selting. They pertain to another level of analysis. stereotyped sequence of actions that defines a well-known situation’’ 11 An ‘‘utterance-event’’ is for Levinson (1988: 168) ‘‘that stretch of a turn at talk over which there is a constant set of participant roles mapped into the same set of individuals’’.) of the speakers. and instead be content with taking a more modest approach and examining only certain ‘moments of talk’. a ‘social encounter’. and the investigator is wise to drop the idea of even attempting to describe a global interaction.1. Upper rank: conversation. 1988). joint engagement.8 C. Typically. more generally. as shown by Goodwin’s (1981) example ‘‘I gave up smoking cigarettes one week ago today. 2000: 511). moving together and bodily addressing one another.1. since it is uniquely marked by a change of speaker and does not necessarily coincide with the speech activities (like questions. A turn is produced by only one speaker. Edmondson (1981). it is not. such as greetings and farewells. 12 The principle of rank-analysis was developed by various discourse analysts. At any rate. a turn is a unity which pertains to the surface structure of conversation. interaction Conversation is traditionally assumed to be. Although in many cases the largest unit is clear-cut. cf. but it can have several successive recipients and hence it can be divided up into different utterance-events (Levinson. in others. ratified participation. etc. actually’’. naturally bounded stretch of interaction comprising all that relevantly goes on from the moment two (or more) individuals open such dealings between themselves and continuing until they finally close this activity out. particularly in discontinuous situations characterized by an ‘open state of talk’. requests. constituted by pragmatic units that belong to different ‘ranks’:12 4. correspond to activities that participants intend to accomplish via turns. The opening will typically be marked by the participants turning from their several disjointed orientations. In summary. or. . official. Schank and Abelson define a script as ‘‘a structure that describes appropriate sequences of events in a particular context’’. the closing by their departing in some physical way from the prior immediacy of copresence. such as Sinclair and Coulthard (1975). But Goffman adds that this definition is in some cases totally contradicted. *Moves. as in Goffman’s definition (1981: 130): a substantive. that is ‘‘a predetermined. ‘‘surface units’’.

and the nature of our aims. for all aspects regarding local arrangements. however. and à Conversation Analysis. 4. 1999). sequences These terms designate blocks of exchanges which possess a high degree of thematic or pragmatic cohesiveness. and his description of the interpersonal relationship level. exchanges (such as the adjacency pair ‘question-answer’) are in fact combinations of moves and not of turns.3. like Aston (1998: 13): ‘‘Since our primary objective was not that of testing a specific discourse theory. A turn can be composed of several moves.15 13 In this perspective. in particular. But our basic kit of tools is supplied more specifically by: à Goffman’s theory of the participation framework. etc. it is necessary to call upon various descriptive traditions. as they do not compete on the same turf. social psychology. whose theory of politeness is of great use to interaction analysis. Thus. a series of models have been examined. for example in order to describe the mechanisms of preference organization (Lerner.2. They add that ‘‘a script must be written from a particular role’s point of view’’. but it is also claimed by some Anglo-Americain researchers. what we commonly call the ‘Restaurant Script’ is.14 à Discourse Analysis (‘Birmingham school’ or ‘Geneva school’) for an interaction’s internal organization. cognitive approaches. 1995. We believe that there is no incompatibility among these different theoretical approaches. have entailed that rather than opting for a single descriptive model a priori. 1991. 1987).1.13 4. our analyses will occasionally make reference to Searle’s or Grice’s pragmatics.1. Intermediate rank: episodes. phases. face-work phenomena. ´nonciation (Jeanneret. Hymes’s ethnography of speaking. the different theoretical backgrounds of the various members of the group. 1996). Kerbrat-Orecchioni / Journal of Pragmatics 36 (2004) 1–24 9 (1977: 42–43). Lower ranks: exchanges and moves Exchanges are defined as the smallest pragmatic units to be produced by at least two different speakers. 4. a script of waiter–customer interaction as seen from the customer’s point of view. for example in case of co-e 14 These phenomena are described more precisely by Brown and Levinson (1978.2. Inversely.’’ .C. for example. and therefore be part of several exchanges. in fact. Moves correspond to the contribution a given speaker makes to a given exchange. seen in relation to its different ranks. and whose configurations vary according to the type of interaction. with a consensus as to requirements gradually emerging. Descriptive tools Since the same tools are not appropriate to describing the different levels and components of interaction. our approach to the description of the data has been substantially eclectic. 15 This ‘eclecticism’ characterizes most of the French research work in analysis of interactions. one and the same move can (more exceptionally) be distributed over several turns. Gumperz’s sociolinguistics.

an ‘open state of talk’ can develop. see also Grosjean’s and Traverso’s analyses of ‘semi-formal’ situations. then relapse 16 A situation which is managed in very diverse ways depending on the culture: unlike the way things work in France. Among the classification criteria on which a typology can be established. 5. where the group forms around a common focus of attention. eight friends sharing a meal. workshops.1. but copresence in an enclosed space brings about a situation of ‘latent communication’. verbal or non-verbal. 5. . they introduce a number of useful distinctions which sharpen that of Goffman between simple ‘gatherings’ and veritable ‘encounters’. etc. participants having the right but not the obligation to initiate a little flurry of talk. formality being a gradual phenomenon (Drew and Heritage. where noninvolvement is the rule.16 5. Although they bring together the same number of people. the more phenomena of ‘splitting-off’ can be observed. there is first of all the number of participants. as Grosjean and Traverso state (1998: 51): The question of number is not in itself fundamentally the main question. Shared focus encounters In shared focus encounters. Kerbrat-Orecchioni / Journal of Pragmatics 36 (2004) 1–24 5. Unfocused gatherings The classic example of an unfocused gathering is the waiting room.. (translated from the French) In this same article. The less formal the situation is. These interactions can take place in a formal or informal frame. this issue). On this topic. copresence in the same place almost automatically leads to beginning conversation. Their highest level of frequency is to be found in everyday conversations among friends. eight individuals who work in the same office. However. which can be extremely variable. 1992a: 27. the different participants are oriented towards one and the same activity. in some societies. where the different participants or groups of participants go about different activities in the same place: Under these conditions.2. Grosjean and Traverso bring other relevant axes to light. Problems of typology Polylogues can be of very diverse nature. one of these being the focused or unfocused nature of the interaction being observed.10 C.3. the following situations have hardly any aspects in common: eight people in a waiting room. Multi-focus gatherings Multi-focus gatherings are situations in offices.

he or she can adopt variable footing. 6. For each of the situations earlier. ‘author’. multi-focusing is ‘structural’.17 In addition to this. In our approach. (Goffman. (Goffman. Erving Goffman’s notion of participation framework Goffman (1981: Chapter 3) contributes the three following important notions: *Production format: the speaker can take on the roles of ‘animator’. in order to restore symmetry.1. there is a corresponding participation framework. *Participation framework: When a word is spoken. Kerbrat-Orecchioni / Journal of Pragmatics 36 (2004) 1–24 11 back into silence. Participation Participants are defined by Goffman as being ‘‘in perceptual range of the event’’. as though adding but another interchange to a chronic conversation in progress. all this with no apparent ritual marking. we differentiate within the participation framework between the production format and the reception format. 1981: 134–135) In professional settings. Curiously enough. 6. for example. *Participation status: Goffman distinguishes between ‘ratified participants’ (‘addressed’ and ‘unaddressed recipients’) and ‘non-ratified participants’ (‘bystanders’: ‘overhearers’ and ‘eavesdroppers’). . or ‘principal’. 1981: 3) The participation framework corresponds to the ensemble of ‘participation statuses’. In more informal situations.C. the interviewer shifts from ‘neutral’ footing (consisting of producing purely factual utterances) to an ‘evaluative’ or even ‘controversial’ attitude. These very useful distinctions nevertheless bring up a number of difficulties. he does not refer in this connection to a ‘reception format’. it can be said to be ‘emergent’. Problems 6.1. The codification of these various positions and the normative specification of appropriate conduct within each provide an essential background for interaction analysis. where participants are pulled to and fro between different foci of attention. because 17 See Marcoccia (this issue). Clayman (1992) shows that in news-interview discourse. all those who happen to be in perceptual range of the event will have some of participation status relative to it. as in the double-focus and even triple-focus interactions in the home described by Vincent (1995) and Grosjean and Traverso (1998: 62–63).1. But the criterion of perceptual access (visual and/or auditory) is too limited.

there are two categories of spectators. unratified. such as the spectators attending a court trial. In a sense. this is the way Bell designates Goffman’s category of ratified non-addressed recipients. jurors in courtrooms are considered ‘overhearers’ since they are forbidden to speak. Yet there is a great deal of disagreement among theoreticians regarding this issue as well. ratified recipients. however.1. suggesting that even those who are ‘momentarily disengaged’ should be included in the category of participants. and the fact that the discourse produced is also (sometimes even mainly) intended for them. insofar as this copresence cannot fail to have some impact on the behaviour of the people who are in contact with each other. defines only those who are ‘ratified’ and ‘attentive’ as ‘participants’. postures. for example. Ratification Ratified participants are. even in a loose sense. In fact. claiming that ‘‘the jury are only very loosely speaking ratified recipients [. according to Goffman. who are nevertheless still ratified. both are ratified as listeners. It seems therefore advisable to recognize the existence of different degrees of participation. given the legitimacy of their presence on the site. relayed talk. and McCawley (1984: 263) contributes a very slight nuance to this view. though they in many cases are intended recipients. in the viewpoint of some researchers. for Goffman. auditor:18 known. ratified. unratified. and eavesdropper: unknown. ratified. 6. as witnessed by the way the members of the group are physically positioned (proxemics. a town council meeting. unaddressed. or a TV talk show.12 C. Kerbrat-Orecchioni / Journal of Pragmatics 36 (2004) 1–24 it excludes situations such as written discourse. every person present on the site of the interaction. The latter is the case of all kinds of ‘audience’. . addressed (maximal degree). In the last case. adopts a kind of intermediate position. their displayed interest in the proceedings. in opposition to Goffman. etc. it seems preferable to recognize that there are different: *degrees of ratification: We can agree with McCawley that the jurors are ‘more ratified’ than the spectators. For Drew (1992).]. noting a continuum between evident engagement and total disengagement (and vice versa). officially a part of the conversation group. . Indeed. Heritage (1985) has the same attitude regarding the ‘audiences’ of news interviews. Levinson (1988). It is also too broad. if seems difficult not to admit that jurors and even spectators of a trial in a courtroom are ratified to a certain extent. overhearer: known. according to the scheme proposed by Bell (1984): addressee: known. whether officially ratified or non-ratified as a participant.2.19 Indeed. those who are present in the television studio and those who are watching the program on their TV screens. unaddressed (minimal degree). has ipso facto a certain ‘participation status’. unaddressed.’’ Nevertheless. *modes of ratification: Complete ratification (in both the production and reception formats) can be opposed to ratification as a listener only (ratification in the reception format). The spectators are not. eye-contact network). And Goodwin (1981: 107 ff). 19 18 .

20 Ratification may of course give rise to negotiating among the participants. Continuum at a moment t1. between that of an addressed and a non-addressed recipient. Cases of this would be: In the example of the town council meeting (Witko. a recipient can have a status that is intermediate. all the participants are ratified. it seems preferable to assume that address cues often establish a gradual ranking of main addressee(s) and secondary addressee(s). but. Goffman insists in particular on ‘visual cues’. we most often have to deal with subtle and gradual cues such as the content of the utterance (which more specifically ‘concerns’ a particular listener). *levels of ratification: On a global level. poses the problem of address markers. the roll-call procedure constitutes the main ratification technique. or paralinguistic and kinesic indications (vocal intensity. As explicit signals (principally terms of address) are rather seldom present. depending on the sequence. however. head movements).21 and defines the addressee as ‘‘the one to whom the speaker addresses his visual attention’’ (1981: 133). some types of ratification (and non-ratification) are only determined at a local level. in relation to a particular episode or task (see Bruxelles and Kerbrat-Orecchioni’s analysis (this issue) of a radio discussion in which. We note here that the problem is posed in completely different terms when the data being studied is written: see in this issue Marcoccia’s study on a case of communication via the Internet.3. of attentiveness and involvement). ‘auditors’ for Bell). This continuum can have two forms. Address Within the category of ratified participants. ratification is based on the script. At any given t1 moment of the interaction.1. intonations. 6. 21 Inaccessible to the analyst who does not have access to a video recording. and *ratification devices: Various devices can be used by the ratifier. Kerbrat-Orecchioni / Journal of Pragmatics 36 (2004) 1–24 13 whose permissible reactions are limited to a few non-verbal manifestations such as laughter or applause. which defines official roles. But such markers are often ambiguous. eye and body orientation. . 2000).e. see Lacoste (1989: 266–267).1. instead of referring to a discrete opposition between ‘addressees’ and ‘non-addressees’. mainly kinesic. i. on a global level.1. . Goffman distinguishes between addressed recipients (to whom the speaker officially addresses his or her utterance) and non-addressed recipients (‘side participants’ for Clark. one participant or another will be officially ratified by the moderator).3. These techniques vary depending on the interaction situations. 20 . 22 For an example during a corporate work session. or by the participant seeking ratification (indicators.C. The determination of addressee(s). 6. however.22 So. and they may even be contradictory with each other (examples of a clash between verbal and non-verbal markers: a sweeping glance accompanying an utterance in the second person singular or just the opposite).

1. 6. This can even be done more brusquely by using the pronominal marker.or herself or to someone else. 1995).1.14 C. Between t1 and t2 (two consecutive moments in time). although still not exactly leaving the other members of the audience ‘unaddressed’. and in domestic situations where each participant goes about his own activities. ‘response cries’ (cf. in a murmur. The ‘semi-self talk’. this is not always what really happens. etc. but it was difficult to know whether she was saying that for his benefit or to herself. for example. she doesn’t know how to talk! 6. This distinction is. in relation to a change in the orientation of the speaker’s glance] (2) Since you stopped teaching the class. The criterion most often applied to distinguishing between overhearers and eavesdroppers is whether the speaker is aware or unaware of the presence of the 23 ‘‘She said something in a muffled voice. the main addressee can be changed in mid-sentence by shifts of gaze. Continuum between t1 and t2. Paris: Gallimard. However. ´) translated from the French). 1988: 206 ff). and ‘out-louds’ (cf. Levinson. producing brief apparent soliloquies. Kerbrat-Orecchioni / Journal of Pragmatics 36 (2004) 1–24 *Semi-self talk: This is the case when it is not certain whether the speaker is talking to him. ‘favouring’ some members (because they perhaps produce more back-channel signals). or ‘half-aside’ (semi-aparte is a frequent theatrical ` device. as in a classroom setting. or ‘adventitious participants’. based on two different criteria which do not necessarily converge: the speaker’s awareness/unawareness of the bystander. they must theoretically (pretend to) be disinterested in what is going on within the conversation group. as in private comments by a customer in a cafeteria line. a gradual shift can occur from one addressee to another. in fact. *Collective address: This is the case when a speaker is talking before a large audience. 1974: 180. since the presence of other people exercises a certain degree of control over the vocal productions of all the participants (see Vincent. Risibles amours. where the teacher’s sweeping glance over the audience is perforce unequal. For example. Goffman. 1981: Chapter 2). [co-reference between ‘‘he’’ and ‘‘your’’. subtle vocal variations. or by an office employee working in front of a computer. . and the intentionality/unintentionality of the bystander’s hearing. Non-ratified recipients (or bystanders) Non-ratified recipients. particularly in Moliere’s comedies.4.2.’’ (Milan Kundera. are present in most communication situations (‘‘Their presence should be considered the rule’’). exclamations. Goffman distinguishes between two sub-classes within the category of bystanders: overhearers and eavesdroppers. which are not in fact authentic ‘self talk’. Unlike ratified recipients.23 Well-known examples are interjections. as in the following two examples (one of which is excerpted from a television debate and the other from an informal conversation): (1) He doesn’t want to be reduced to one of the two aspects of your personality.3. There are also cases in which someone thinks aloud in someone else’s presence. as Goffman notes.

Examples of eavesdropping. where I propose an ‘extended theory of the trope’. examples of overhearers would be: factory workers doing repair work in an office where a meeting is being held. Ã Bystanders (either overhearers or eavesdroppers) (among non-ratified recipients). who considers the audience as the ‘primary address’ in news interviews (the term ‘primary’ actually meaning here ‘intended’). we speak of a ‘communicational trope’ (trope communicationnel)24—a phenomenon which is described masterfully by ` Marcel Proust in various passages of A la recherche du temps perdu (translated from the French): See Kerbrat-Orecchioni (1990: 92 ff) on the different forms of this phenomenon (also see Mizzau (1994) on triangolazione communicativa). 1986). Overhearers. Goffman’s definition brings in another criterion. . On the basis of this criterion. different degrees and modes of ratification). The target does not always coincide with the addressee. since the audience is an ‘eavesdropper’ for the characters. When there is a discrepancy between these two types of recipients. Main distinctions Within the participation framework (ensemble of participation statuses).1. connected to the attitudes or motives of hearers themselves. enacting shows of disinterest and minimizing their actual access to the talk. as we have seen. I then studied this mechanism on several occasions. but a target for the author and the actors. in Goffman’s words. the person for whom the utterance is really intended. we will base our study of polylogue on the following distinctions: Ã Production format vs.C. reception format. 6. i. Eavesdroppers. Proposals 6. And we will add another category to those of Goffman: Ã Target (Levinson. secondary (or side) addressees (among ratified recipients).e.’’ (1981: 132). would be hearing a private conversation through a half-open door—or listening to a recording of a conversation which just happens to have fallen into your hands as a conversation analyst. are indiscreet listeners who do everything they can to intercept discourse which is in no way intended for their ears. ‘‘they may surreptitiously exploit the accessibility they find they have. Interviews and various types of talk on the media operate to a certain extent in the same way—cf. on the other hand. I introduced the term ‘trope communicationnel’ in L’implicite (Paris: Colin. follow the talk temporarily. unintentionally. on the other hand.2. 1984). or staff in charge of handling technical problems during a conference. Greatbatch (1992: 269–270). 24 . Such participants are only exceptionally promoted to the status of ‘addressees’.2. according to Goffman. Ã Main addressees vs. non-ratified participants (with. . 1988: 210 ff) or intended recipient (McCawley. In addition to this speaker-linked criterion. Kerbrat-Orecchioni / Journal of Pragmatics 36 (2004) 1–24 15 bystander within the perceptual space. in particular as it operates in drama: theatrical discourse can indeed be considered an immense communicational trope. Ã Ratified participants vs. and inadvertently.

then at least intended. in front of an astounded Morel to whom. interviewee. a professor. 6. . but did it by addressing the information to her mother-in-law. etc.2. 6. the communicational trope can be accompanied by a ‘syllepsis’ (or double meaning). in relation to whom it has a stronger value. i. to tell the truth. italics added) ‘The duchy of Aumale was in our family for a long time before becoming a part of the Maison de France’. that of an informative statement. explained Monsieur de Charlus to Monsieur de Cambremer. a tradesperson). here a ‘knowing participant’.] (Du co ´ de chez Swann. For example. teacher vs.]. which are based on tasks which are carried out (giving the floor. Additionally. far from being out of fashion. of multiplication of the illocutionary values of the utterance depending on its different addressees. salesperson vs. (ibid. so as to be heard at the same time by Madame de Saint-Euverte to whom he was speaking and Madame de Laumes for ˆte whom he was speaking [. in part. Kerbrat-Orecchioni / Journal of Pragmatics 36 (2004) 1–24 ‘Ah!’ he said. speaking to no one in particular. 334. you were born in Paris in 1940. as when playing billiards. For example. the entire dissertation was. such as those of a journalist. depending on the situation. an interview usually begins as follows: Mr.3. the strategy is more audacious when the real target is an overhearer than when he or she is a secondary addressee. in order to hit a ball one plays against the edge of the billiard-table. which are based on the script.2. student. X. was Debussy’s favorite musician.16 C. . .: 212) This indirect strategy of address is applied with varying degrees of ‘audacity’. The recipient design principle Cicero has already said of the orator: The eloquent man should demonstrate the wisdom which will allow him to adapt to circumstances and to people. But its main target is clearly the listener. if not addressed. for whom its value is at most a request for confirmation. and discursive roles. . After brilliantly pursuing studies in philology at the Sorbonne. I do indeed think that one should talk .1. that Chopin.). answering questions. interviewer vs. but the functioning of an interaction also involves other types of roles as well: for example. determined by social and institutional statuses. This opening sequence is apparently addressed to the interviewee. (Sodome et Gomorrhe II: 212) I afforded myself the pleasure of informing her. you were obliged to leave in order to go into military service in Algeria [. Paris: folio. examples: moderator. interactional roles. Different types of roles Participation statuses can be called interlocutive roles. It is obviously compatible with the phenomenon mentioned in Section 3. buyer (these roles being.e.2.

One ‘slides’ from one conversation to the other in gatherings. the main purpose of byplay is not to disrupt the dominant interaction. disclosure. resulting in what Goffman (1981: 135) calls ‘‘structural instability’’. of address. but be treated as unratified participants by their partners in interaction. 1984: 161). patients.25 crossplay. . Fuzziness and graduality of categories Attribution of a given status to a participant can pose problems for the analyst. concealment. side participants (Clark and Carlson. This principle has been illustrated for all types of participants.H. as it can for the people who are themselves involved in the interaction. (1974: 727). audiences (Drew. Johnson and Roen. 123. involuntary or voluntary. Special attention should be paid to one’s addressee. constant changes in format and in footing can be observed throughout interaction. 1992). there are three cases of partial change: byplay. and even within the same conversation. which arises among ratified participants. interlocutive configurations are frequently moved around. people in disadvantaged positions (children. whereas towards overhearers. or partial when ‘subordinate communication’ arises parallel to the ‘dominating communication’. it can also occur that participants’ statuses can be seen differently from each other’s points of view. According to Goffman. Finally.C. In addition. 1982). 1989. For example. that is. etc. Goodwin shows that the framework is at the same time both undermined and upheld—generally. In the same way. These continual fluctuations in the framing can take place by means of either gradual shifting or abrupt changes. The intrusion can be negotiated by the participants by means of different procedures. Paralleling this. nor are their abilities and handicaps.’’ It is valid for all types of listeners and not only for the addressee: ‘‘audience design informs all levels of a speaker’s linguistic choice’’ (Bell. of ratification. 1992). nor for everyone. the elderly) may consider themselves to be ratified participants.4. 6. nor to everyone in the same way. Change is complete in cases of ‘splitting-off’. Kerbrat-Orecchioni / Journal of Pragmatics 36 (2004) 1–24 17 neither all the time. Goodwin (1991) of playful commentaries made in the course of a narrative episode during family table talk in an American home. Clark (1989. described in detail by Goodwin. we ‘design’ our utterance with all our potential listeners in mind. denoting different degrees of participation. which takes place between 25 On byplay also see the analysis proposed by M. The fuzziness of the markers also brings about the possibility of misunderstandings. (Ciceron. the Recipient Design Principle is ‘‘the most general principle particularizing conversational interaction. such as indifference. but we do not deal with them all in the same way. 1992) also notes that when we speak. ‘‘speakers can legitimately choose among a range of attitudes’’. the man who is capable of adapting his language to what is ´ appropriate to each case will be said to be eloquent. l’Orateur: XXXV–XXXVI.2. translated from the French) Conversation analysts express the same idea in their own terms. nor against everyone. and overhearers (Schober and Clark. All the categories which go to make up the participation framework are gradual. Following Sacks et al. Thus. or disguisement (1992: 255–256). the listeners’ responsibilities are not the same.

to illustrate these principles of analysis. studied by Traverso (1997). in Leonardi and Viaro’s study (1990) of encounters between doctors and their patients. by moving in closer. and first of all. It is in no way prohibited for a person who is standing directly behind B in the line at the post office to follow the exchange between A and B. if only to verify whether his/her turn at the counter is coming up. and sideplay. and can use his or her ‘quasilegitimacy’ in order to speed up a transaction which is dragging on too long. 6. It is up to the speaker to attribute a particular participation status to each member of the reception format. and especially the graduality of the categories. such a strategy is aimed at getting the speaker to distribute address signals more equitably.26 But they are also highly adaptable. without being really ratified in relation to the interaction in progress. The customers in the waiting-line have hierarchical ranking in terms of ratification. an employee. who must hide whatever interest he or she may have in our conversation). Such choices are made on the basis of various principles. a moment in time when A. and the person who is ‘too often looked at’ tries to remedy this embarrassing situation by refusing eye-contact with the speaker. Kerbrat-Orecchioni / Journal of Pragmatics 36 (2004) 1–24 ratified participants and bystanders. to choose one or several main addressee(s). and an unaddressed participant can.18 C. but this ‘sliding’ from one addressee to another will sometimes have to be accompanied by the speaker’s reshaping and redesigning the utterance.27 Likewise. 27 This behaviour would be impossible now in most French post offices. At t1: B is ratified and is the main addressee. The first in line is ‘more ratified’ than the last. The other customers who are standing in line at the same counter. in contrast.e. the people Such as ‘Preference for the best source’ and ‘Preference in selecting a spokesperson’. etc. a person sitting near us on a bus (i. of what goes on in a French post office. more specifically.3. by leaning on the counter. Still another case is when a speaker favours one member of the audience to an excessive extent in a situation where the address is supposedly collective. are at the same time more ‘legitimate’ listeners than. for example. a customer. which consists of ‘‘hushed words exchanged entirely among bystanders’’ (1981: 133–134). for example. Goodwin (1981). above all. Building the participation format is a fundamentally collaborative process. in order to safeguard the confidentiality of the interaction in progress (since many French residents also do their banking at the post office). negotiable. An example As a conclusion. 26 . a veritable overhearer. The point of the preceding remarks is that an addressed participant can behave in such a way as to display a relative lack of involvement. where a line on the floor marks off a physical boundary for the exchange taking place at the counter. addresses B. and. shows that when it seems that the targeted addressee is not listening. behave in such a way as to display a wish to be treated as an addressee—and can even manage to get this to happen. let us take the example. of the reception format configuration at t1. and. the speaker will fall back on another addressee who seems better disposed to listening. for example.

without looking too closely. They are therefore legitimate listeners. 1997). has been given a particular status. but also owing to perpetual movements within the reception format. ‘reduction’. and ‘reorientation’ (cf. if only to change lines in case their own line stops moving). as well as of our present inability to simultaneously integrate micro approaches (concerning the interaction itself) and macro approaches (concerning background and social aspects). But this notion of an ‘interaction behind closed doors’ is really an artifice. the walls we are leaning against were designed by an architect for a client and built by construction workers. we would not see a clearlyoutlined frame. to other places. in fact. but they become ratified participants less easily than the employees actually behind the counters who are specifically in charge of customer contact. Traverso. an on-the-job trainee. the words we are using were not designed for the situation. The other postal employees behind counters are more ratified than the waiting customers. all interactions are infinitely open ‘‘to other elements.] If we wanted to draw a spatio-temporal ‘map’ of all that is to be found in an interaction. but instead a very disheveled intertwining network implying an untold number of extremely diverse dates. as Latour (1994: 590) reminds us. Observed as it unfolds.C. [. Among them. Other postal workers who happen to be present in the post office are also legitimate listeners. but the garment we are wearing comes from somewhere else. Even the person whom we are addressing comes from a background which goes far beyond the framework of our relationship. and interactions between A and other postal employees closely intertwine—and this description is valid only if analysis is limited to what takes place among the people who are present within the four walls of the post office. To be sure. Kerbrat-Orecchioni / Journal of Pragmatics 36 (2004) 1–24 19 standing in the same line as B are more ratified than those who are standing in lines at the other counters (although the people in the other lines may nonetheless be taking an interest in the goings-on in front of another counter. and if we wanted to make a list of all those who are participating in one way or another. (1994: 590. if necessary. it is. that we are interacting with each other face-to-face. although their actions continue to make themselves felt. like a ‘crossroads of interactions’. They are part of the staff and can. C. all absent now. for. close to that of a secondary addressee (as he is more or less supposed to observe everything that goes on). This post office participation framework constantly changes. . such as ‘broadening’. in fact. translated from the French) This is a salutary reminder of the over-simplistic nature of the classical perspective on interaction. where interactions between A and various successive customers. . to other participants’’: It is said. be ‘called to the rescue’. not only because the main addressee at t1 moment in time becomes the current speaker at t2 moment in time. . . . So this is a complex polylogal situation. ‘restratification’. places and people. to other times.

Such is indeed the leitmotiv which runs through these studies: that of the extreme complexity and flexibility of polylogal organizations—especially since. she takes an even closer look at the macro-local level. Marcoccia concludes that this mode of communication only makes more salient certain problems which are characteristic of all polylogal exchanges. The newsgroup’s mode of communication obviously has a great deal of influence on the structure of exchanges and the way they work. The studies in this publication ` This special issue investigates different types of polylogal situations. revealing gradual shifts in the basic participation structures of these encounters from straight dilogues between departing and arriving parties to genuine polylogues. focusing on still another type of phenomenon which characterizes polylogues: the possibility of establishing alliances or coalitions. the parts have the same structure as the whole). In the article by Sylvie Bruxelles and Catherine Kerbrat-Orecchioni. . . and ‘quadrilogal’ encounters in French notaries’ offices in the context of divorce settlements. local.] as a variant off two-party conversation’’ (Lectures. while implicitly modeling themselves on face-to-face speech. which she describes in relation to the topical lines followed by the participants. Michele Grosjean’s article examines the participation framework in a particular type of talkat-work produced within the hospital context. the ‘crowding’ phenomenon and the ‘splitting-off’ phenomenon. Such complexity would be enough to discourage any researcher. Michel Marcoccia’s study specifically analyses how polylogues function ‘on line’ in Internet newsgroups. However.20 C. and not merely [. as early as 1967. the authors make a distinction between two main categories of coalitions: those which are imposed by the frame of the interaction and ‘emerging’ coalitions. These notions are illustrated by an analysis of two excerpts of data of quite different types: a discussion among five participants within the setting of a French radio program. Sacks recommended that the functioning of multi-party conversations be ‘‘investigated in its own terms. Yet. She emphasizes the fact that. . After examining the various procedures which can be used to form a coalition. via the written channel. in such hospital contexts. and ‘macro-local’ levels. unlike dilogues (which are objects possessing a sort of fractal structure: on a different scale. whose complexity presently defies all attempts of formalization. Kerbrat-Orecchioni / Journal of Pragmatics 36 (2004) 1–24 7. The article focuses on shift-change briefing sessions between teams going off duty and teams coming on duty in different types of hospital wards. the investigation moves towards the interpersonal relationship level. Finally. the functioning of the participation framework can only be described in relation to the professional statuses of the respective participants. examining in detail two phenomena peculiar to the polylogue. After having distinguished among global. polylogues have an organization which is so mobile and so changeable that observing them at a t1 point in time can never provide a representative picture of the whole. ´ Veronique Traverso’s study concerns a semi-formal meeting of researchers belonging to the same research group. which emerge at certain specific points in time. at the same time.

. Language style as audience design. pp. ` ´ ´ Berrier. 1984. Astrid. Cragan and Wright (1980. pp. social psychology. 1990) for a critical synthesis of about one hundred studies carried out in the 1980s on communication in small groups). 1997a. Bologna. (chapter 8 with Edward F. . Collaboration in dialogues. M.: 533). Olson et al. (Ed. Multi-participant situations have already been much investigated in the field of sociology (following the work of Georg Simmel). Benjamins. Carlson. Studies of Language in the Workplace. Pragmatics 7.Provence. Drew and Heritage (1992b). 1991. Delamotte-Legrand (1995). Language 58.. Aix-en. Stephen. 59–81. Goodwin (1991). Bailey. Stephen. Bilmes. 1997b. 1–12. Grosjean and Lacoste (1999). 145–204. L’Harmattan. Penelope. Negotiating Service. S’opposer dans une conversation a quatre: de quelques moyens. Astrid. A. 249–258.C. 13–33. Levinson. Brown. Aston. Negotiated Interaction in Target Language Classroom Discourse... Managing language. Guy. Thomas B. 60–81. 56–289. 1997c. on patient-therapist encounters: Leonardi and Viaro (1990). With such encouragement. Harris. La conversation a quatre: quelques aspects interculturels. In: Firth. Arenas of Language use. 1982. (Eds. Paris. Handbook of Pragmatics. Clark. 1992. The Dark Side of Politeness: A Pragmatic Analysis of Non-cooperative Communication..). Linguistic investigations on this issue are much less numerous—see among others: on everyday conversations: Tannen (1984). and communication studies (see e. ` Berrier. (Eds. Karin. Asymetrie et apprentissage dans les activites de groupe en classe. Aronsson. Interactions en langue etrangere. In: Lefevre. Bargiela-Chiappini. Vincent (1995). H. 1995). (Ed. University of Canterbury. Barthomeuf (1991). Cognitive Psychology 21. Muller (1995). Boulima (1999). Questions and Politeness: Strategies in Social Interaction. on various types of meetings: Cuff and Sharrock (1985). Jacques. (1992). ´ ` ´ C.. Kathleen M. Jamila.). Cambridge. Astrid. 325–366. pp. 1987. Language in Society 13.. Boulima. Dick.. Clark. J.). 1997. et al. In: Aston. Cambridge University Press. In: Goody. Herbert H. In: Verschueren. Hily. G. on classroom interactions: Pica and Doughty (1985). Paddy M. 1995. Revue quebecoise de linguistique 25 (2). Some Universals in Language use. Berrier (1997a–c). Allan. Kerbrat-Orecchioni / Journal of Pragmatics 36 (2004) 1–24 21 vol. In: Russier. I: 523).. on telephone conferences: Perin and Gensollen (1992). Sandra J.. Bilmes (1995). how can one resist the urge to take on this challenge?28 References Allwright. Focus on the Language Classroom: An Introduction to Classroom Research to Language Teachers. 1–23. PhD Dissertation. Pergamon. Understanding by addresses and overhearers. . Bargiela-Chiappini and Harris (1997). Levinson. 1978. 1987. Negotiation and compromise: A microanalysis of discussion in the United States Federal Trade Commission. Chicago. Benjamins. Cambridge. Diamond (1996). pp. Cambridge. on various talk-at-work situations: Lacoste (1989. E. 28 After quite a number of other scientists. The discourse of corporate meetings. ´ ´ Barthomeuf. Benjamins. Austin. Cambridge University Press. Les situations plurilingues et leurs enjeux. M. 1999. The University of Chicago Press. D. Berrier. Four-party conversation and gender. Stoffel. pp.). 1989. Goodwin and Goodwin (1997). (Eds. Clark. Larrue and Trognon (1993). Traverso (1997). Jack. Allwright and Bailey (1991). Herbert H.H. ‘‘Dealing with overhearers’’. pp. Penelope. multi-party conversations ‘‘could be much more interesting’’ (ibid. Hearers and speech acts. adding that if two-party conversations are ‘‘much blander’’. Schaeffer. Lerner (1993).-L. 211–232. Veronique. CLUEB. (Ed. Cambridge University Press. 1998.-A. Politeness. J.. Amsterdam. 1991. The Discourse of Negotiation.g. Bell.). Francesca. Brown. Publications de l’Universite de Provence. 248–274). 1996. 332–373.. Herbert H. Universals in language use: politeness phenomena. M. Amsterdam. Introduction. Oxford. Wright (1987).). Amsterdam. Traverso ¨ (1996).

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