Journal of Pragmatics 36 (2004) 1–24 www.elsevier.
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: email@example.com (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.
the interactions involving a divorced couple and their respective notaries studied by Bruxelles
And before him. 1977). 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. turn-taking operates per se between speakers. real live individuals. in the ordinary sense. and it is easy to handle.
. being only one particular type of talk-in-interaction). such as the co-telling of a story or siding together in a disagreement. play an important role in conversation. ranging from four (e. claims that ‘‘the turn-taking system as described in SSJ organizes the distribution of talk not in the ﬁrst instance among persons. more abstract entities which can be embodied by one and the same speaker).g. as we will see. but among parties. 523–524): ‘‘two parties does not necessarily mean two persons’’. or their several attributes relative to a momentarily current interactional contingency. In a completely diﬀerent sense from the meaning attributed to this term by Julia Kristeva (in Polylogue. Sacks (Lectures vol.5 This term is etymologically appropriate.
2. let me say that the situations analysed in this issue involve variable numbers of participants. in point of fact. covers diverse phenomena) belongs to another level of analysis. or rather multi-participant interactions (conversation. and above all. Thus. for example.C. the derived adjective. whether they are host or guest. Schegloﬀ (1995: 32–33). for example. (1995: 40) For us.4 for example. The notion of polylogue For the reasons discussed above. for proponents of CA.’’ This can involve: their relative alignment in current activities. speakers’ objectives. I will come back to this point.). that is. ‘tetralogue’ etc. roles. or ‘dialogism’. on the contrary. already poses some problems owing to the diﬃculty of clearly deﬁning the category of ‘participants’. We will also speak of polylogues. etc. ‘trilogue’. we will say that Kristeva’s perspective is ‘dialogic’. but for the moment. we will refer to as polylogal all communicative situations which gather together several participants. with speakers considered only as being ‘incumbents’ of these parties. the notion of polylogue. in designating the topic dealt with in this publication we will not speak of ‘multi-party conversations’ but of multi-participant conversations. Paris: Seuil. it ﬁts into a coherent paradigm (‘dilogue’. allowing. Thanks to this notion of party. Finally. it is possible ‘‘to introduce order into this potentially chaotic circumstance’’ constituted by the large number of participants. turn-taking operates not between speakers but between ‘parties’. Picking up on Maurice Blanchot’s idea of ‘parole plurielle’. The notion of ‘party’ (which. whether—as a new increment is being added to a number of interactional participants—they are the newly arrived or pre-present. Thus deﬁned. I. Kristeva’s approach is related to what is commonly known as ‘polyphony’. although seemingly trivial. Kerbrat-Orecchioni / Journal of Pragmatics 36 (2004) 1–24
whereas many other aspects can be taken into account that are aﬀected even more by the number of participants. the succession of turns is ﬁrst and foremost a phenomenon which takes place between individuals. Even if mechanisms of alignment based on statuses. whereas our perspective in this issue is rather ‘dialogal’.
secondary addressee. For more or less radical (and more or less justiﬁed) critiques of this approach. I will just brieﬂy outline the objective and the results of that earlier work. were eliminated from this study because our research team has previously carried out work on these conﬁgurations. In our studies. A ﬂirts with B. I: 530–534 and vol. the hospital shift-change brieﬁng sessions studied by Grosjean) all the way to a theoretically inﬁnite number of participants (e. Power and Dal Martello (1986). or vice versa). Goodwin (1981) shows very clearly that. O’Connell et al. through a large range of data (everyday conversations. Trilogues The objective of our earlier studies was to bring to light the speciﬁc features of trilogues that distinguish them from dilogues. Given the continuity between these two categories. and interruptions and simultaneous talk. violations of speaker-selection rules. it is preferable to talk of main addressee vs. Ford et al. This idea was already put forward by Sacks (Lectures. The organization of turn-taking Turn-taking7 in trilogues is generally characterized by variability in alternation patterns. A similar idea is elaborated by Clark and Carlson (1982: 333). II: 99–101). see Edelsky (1981). and the related question of addressing cues. along with the change in addressee. The hearers’ roles We were particularly interested in studying the distinction between an ‘addressed recipient’ and a ‘non-addressed recipient’. 3.g. Kerbrat-Orecchioni / Journal of Pragmatics 36 (2004) 1–24
and Kerbrat-Orecchioni) through various intermediate situations (e.1. and possibly even some additional values). (1990). who note that ‘‘speakers perform illocutionary acts not only toward addressees. which are most often fuzzy.g. but also toward certain other hearers’’ (an order. can have the value of an informative act for ‘lateral’ hearers. for a synthesis of this research project.6
3. An utterance can also simultaneously convey diﬀerent pragmatic values for its diﬀerent hearers. for example. for example. vol. particularly applied to complex participation formats. Raﬄer-Engel (1983). (1996). for the particular case of three-party conversations.
Results which led to a publication (Kerbrat-Orecchioni and Plantin. the minimal form taken by polylogues. 1995). (1978: 23). Trilogues were studied at every level of their functioning. here. for example. ‘Trilogues’. This variability is in part a result of lack of balance in ﬂoor-holding.4
C. we constantly observe ﬂuctuations in address. the Internet newsgroups studied by Marcoccia). and talk in diﬀerent institutional contexts).2. reconverted into a demand for conﬁrmation. 7 See Sacks et al. see Kerbrat-Orecchioni (1997). ‘‘then she may be teasing C’’). 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.
. the pragmatic value of an utterance can be modiﬁed in the course of the exchange (an initially informative segment being. 3. exchanges in the media.
2. trilogues often feature violations of conversational rules that are unknown in dilogues. 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. there are constant overlaps of three or even four voices superimposed over each other. To summarize. As is quite normal. as the play shows. but deeper analysis reveals the concerted organization of these interruptions. . as well as the variety of ways in which these are carried out. which more often than not have a collaborative function. 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). It should be noted that such intrusions do not always constitute real conversational oﬀenses. analysed by these authors. 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. In Muller’s (1995) study of discussions among eight French ¨ students. in interviews of couples (Marcoccia. only unequal lengths of turns make for disproportionate amounts of participation in the interaction.2. 1998. undermining the conversation. Abstract p. selection rule: If for example I ask A what time it is.3.8 3. for example. [. 9 A discussion on a French radio program. on the other hand.] 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. and a fortiori in multiparticipant interactions. ¨ they sometimes follow an ‘eﬃciency rule’ which overrides Sacks et al. .2.2. The ﬁrst impression created by the overlaps is one of unbearable cacophony. 93. based on the following situation (Paris: Folio.
. In trilogues.or herself from the exchange. or to temporarily eliminate him. 1995) and in situations involving professionals (doctors.1. for example. Kerbrat-Orecchioni / Journal of Pragmatics 36 (2004) 1–24
3. another critic answers and no one even entertains the thought of taking oﬀense. unequal participation is ﬁrst based on the number of turns. judges) and children accompanied by their parents.C. for diﬀerent reasons and with varying eﬀects. General lack of balance in ﬂoor-holding In dilogues. Interruptions and simultaneous talk The frequency of interruptions and simultaneous talk. This possibility increases where the participants are more numerous. According to Dausenschon-Gay and Kraﬀt (1991: 148–149).’’ (translated from the French)
3. I will be completely satisﬁed if it is B who answers me. multi-participant conversations are both more conﬂictual (there are more opportunities for a struggle for the ﬂoor. Intrusions (which happen when the participant who takes the ﬂoor is not the one who has been selected by the current speaker) are frequent. increases in trilogues. and it is always possible for a participant to be left out. Violations of speaker-selection rules In the selection of the next speaker.
Delamotte-Legrand’s ﬁndings suggest that. the initiating move.6
C.4. The structuring of dialogue The structuring of interaction into hierarchically organized units (monologal ‘moves’. and the phenomenon of ‘truncation’ takes diﬀerent forms. LV suggest that these contradictions
. Delamotte-Legrand (1995). since the obligation to cooperate—being in a way ‘diluted’ by the larger group—is not as strong for each individual speaker. etc. and the recipients themselves are intrinsically heterogeneous due to diﬀerences in status. In conclusion. the trilogue allows certain members of the triad to form coalitions. pretending to have forgotten. knowledge.). Speakers must take all their recipients into account to some degree. For the participants themselves. etc. The complexity is obviously even greater in conﬁgurations with more participants. responding in a confused manner. etc. 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. dialogal ‘exchanges’. for example. studied the division of exchanges in discussions within groups of nine pre-adolescent children.) in trilogues is also diﬀerent from that of dilogues: Ã Within one and the same exchange. Analyzing in detail such a contradictory response. expectations. 3. 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. for the analyst. members respond by contradicting themselves.3. when we are dealing with conﬁgurations as complex as these. like the reacting move. the more delicate conversational activities become. it is necessary to re-think the ‘canonic’ structure of the exchange as well as the notion of ‘truncation’. These represented more than half the exchanges in the data studied. 3. objectives. conﬂicts over structuring. can be composed of several contributions produced by diﬀerent speakers. this issue). They also place fewer constraints on participants. Ã The question of the completeness/incompleteness of exchanges is posed in diﬀerent terms. This situation can lead to apparently contradictory utterances. Kerbrat-Orecchioni / Journal of Pragmatics 36 (2004) 1–24
than dilogues. Ã The structural organization of trilogues is clearly more complex than that of dilogues (intertwining of exchanges. the more numerous they are. The level of interpersonal relationships With regard in particular to the relation of dominance among the participants. a notion developed by Theodor Caplow which will be investigated later (see Bruxelles and KerbratOrecchioni. the functioning of trilogues is in all regards more complicated to describe than that of dilogues.
4. even greater in interactions involving more numerous participants. as pointed out by Brown and Levinson (1987: 12).
10 For example. a proposition A to the therapist. the moments of ‘genuine’ trilogue (in which all three members are actively engaged) never last long. and several types of units. we consider ‘turns’ and ‘moves’ to be two diﬀerent kinds of monologal units. Levels of analysis We distinguish among several levels of analysis. Flexibility is. they alternate with phases which seem rather dilogal in character. these moments of ‘dilogues within trilogues’ must not be dealt with as real dilogue. .C. 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. the mechanisms of ‘connecting’ and ‘disconnecting’ the third participant. But then. are their ﬂexibility. a new possibility appears: ‘splitting-oﬀ’. the forming of distinct conversational groups which continue parallel exchanges (see Traverso. For example. the problems of describing the interaction increase dramatically (especially in case of informal non-focusing interactions). that is. and unpredictability.10 The main characteristics of trilogues. of course. the speaker attempts to tell. this fact is always relevant and should be taken into account.e. Beginning with four participants. instead. islands of organization and regularity begin to emerge. but non-A to his co-present wife. 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. since they take place in the presence of a third party. i.
4. instability. as we will try to show in the following analyses.’’
. in comparison with dilogues. Principles of analysis Our study of polylogues is based on the same principles which we developed for describing trilogues. which are identiﬁable at all levels of their functioning: this is the major conclusion to which our observation of trilogues has led. Beyond four participants. involving two active speakers and a third participant who can adopt various attitudes and show extremely variable involvement in the interaction in progress. that is. this issue).1. Describing the interaction therefore requires above all observing gradual shifting from dilogal structures to trilogal ones and vice versa—observing. the seriousness of a FTA (Face Threatening Act) increases in the presence of third parties. . When a triad is conversing. In any case. Kerbrat-Orecchioni / Journal of Pragmatics 36 (2004) 1–24
can be read as cases of ‘multiple recipient design’. via immersion in the data. within one and the same turn.
C. a turn is a unity which pertains to the surface structure of conversation. or. it is at this ‘macro’ level that the notion of script comes into play. such as greetings and farewells.) of the speakers. answers. that is. Edmondson (1981). a ‘social encounter’. requests.1. these establishing and terminating open. or in multi-focus settings where diﬀerent encounters are closely intertwined with each other. and the investigator is wise to drop the idea of even attempting to describe a global interaction. Kerbrat-Orecchioni / Journal of Pragmatics 36 (2004) 1–24
*Turns (as well as Turn-Constructional Units) are ‘‘epiphenomena’’ (Selting. joint engagement. moving together and bodily addressing one another. A turn is produced by only one speaker. actually’’.11 These segments are sometimes very short. more generally. correspond to activities that participants intend to accomplish via turns. as in Goﬀman’s deﬁnition (1981: 130): a substantive. oﬃcial. it is not. such as Sinclair and Coulthard (1975). At any rate. The opening will typically be marked by the participants turning from their several disjointed orientations. particularly in discontinuous situations characterized by an ‘open state of talk’. *Moves. that is. Upper rank: conversation. interaction Conversation is traditionally assumed to be. In summary. the closing by their departing in some physical way from the prior immediacy of copresence. since it is uniquely marked by a change of speaker and does not necessarily coincide with the speech activities (like questions. Schank and Abelson deﬁne a script as ‘‘a structure that describes appropriate sequences of events in a particular context’’. constituted by pragmatic units that belong to diﬀerent ‘ranks’:12 4. ‘‘surface units’’. Typically. Roulet (1992: 92–93): In fact. but it can have several successive recipients and hence it can be divided up into diﬀerent utterance-events (Levinson. on the other hand. But Goﬀman adds that this deﬁnition is in some cases totally contradicted. etc. 2000: 511). as shown by Goodwin’s (1981) example ‘‘I gave up smoking cigarettes one week ago today. in others.1. They pertain to another level of analysis. that is ‘‘a predetermined. 12 The principle of rank-analysis was developed by various discourse analysts. or Roulet (1981). and instead be content with taking a more modest approach and examining only certain ‘moments of talk’. 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’’.
. which is composed of three successive ‘utterance-events’ (sections according to Goodwin’s terminology). 1988). ritual brackets will also be found. 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. ratiﬁed participation. cf. Although in many cases the largest unit is clear-cut.
sequences These terms designate blocks of exchanges which possess a high degree of thematic or pragmatic cohesiveness. A turn can be composed of several moves. Hymes’s ethnography of speaking. for example in order to describe the mechanisms of preference organization (Lerner. our approach to the description of the data has been substantially eclectic.C. Thus. like Aston (1998: 13): ‘‘Since our primary objective was not that of testing a speciﬁc discourse theory. and therefore be part of several exchanges. Moves correspond to the contribution a given speaker makes to a given exchange. Lower ranks: exchanges and moves Exchanges are deﬁned as the smallest pragmatic units to be produced by at least two diﬀerent speakers. Descriptive tools Since the same tools are not appropriate to describing the diﬀerent levels and components of interaction.1. 1999). cognitive approaches.2. but it is also claimed by some Anglo-Americain researchers. phases. etc. social psychology. Gumperz’s sociolinguistics.14 Ã Discourse Analysis (‘Birmingham school’ or ‘Geneva school’) for an interaction’s internal organization. and his description of the interpersonal relationship level. They add that ‘‘a script must be written from a particular role’s point of view’’.1. 4. have entailed that rather than opting for a single descriptive model a priori. a series of models have been examined. one and the same move can (more exceptionally) be distributed over several turns. what we commonly call the ‘Restaurant Script’ is. Kerbrat-Orecchioni / Journal of Pragmatics 36 (2004) 1–24
(1977: 42–43). our analyses will occasionally make reference to Searle’s or Grice’s pragmatics. it is necessary to call upon various descriptive traditions. 15 This ‘eclecticism’ characterizes most of the French research work in analysis of interactions. in particular. seen in relation to its diﬀerent ranks.13
4. Intermediate rank: episodes. ´nonciation (Jeanneret. for example in case of co-e 14 These phenomena are described more precisely by Brown and Levinson (1978. 1987). however. as they do not compete on the same turf. and whose conﬁgurations vary according to the type of interaction. But our basic kit of tools is supplied more speciﬁcally by: Ã Goﬀman’s theory of the participation framework. face-work phenomena. and the nature of our aims. Inversely. We believe that there is no incompatibility among these diﬀerent theoretical approaches. 4. 1996). 1995.15
13 In this perspective. in fact.2. a script of waiter–customer interaction as seen from the customer’s point of view. with a consensus as to requirements gradually emerging. for example. the diﬀerent theoretical backgrounds of the various members of the group.3. exchanges (such as the adjacency pair ‘question-answer’) are in fact combinations of moves and not of turns. 1991. and Ã Conversation Analysis. whose theory of politeness is of great use to interaction analysis.’’
. for all aspects regarding local arrangements.
but copresence in an enclosed space brings about a situation of ‘latent communication’. Among the classiﬁcation criteria on which a typology can be established. the more phenomena of ‘splitting-oﬀ’ can be observed.
. there is ﬁrst of all the number of participants. verbal or non-verbal. formality being a gradual phenomenon (Drew and Heritage. an ‘open state of talk’ can develop. Multi-focus gatherings Multi-focus gatherings are situations in oﬃces. one of these being the focused or unfocused nature of the interaction being observed.10
C. Although they bring together the same number of people. Problems of typology Polylogues can be of very diverse nature.16 5. the diﬀerent participants are oriented towards one and the same activity.. participants having the right but not the obligation to initiate a little ﬂurry of talk. workshops. The less formal the situation is. eight individuals who work in the same oﬃce. On this topic. the following situations have hardly any aspects in common: eight people in a waiting room. Their highest level of frequency is to be found in everyday conversations among friends. 5. Unfocused gatherings The classic example of an unfocused gathering is the waiting room. 5. which can be extremely variable. in some societies. eight friends sharing a meal. this issue). 1992a: 27. where the group forms around a common focus of attention.3. These interactions can take place in a formal or informal frame. etc. copresence in the same place almost automatically leads to beginning conversation. where the diﬀerent participants or groups of participants go about diﬀerent activities in the same place: Under these conditions. However.2. where noninvolvement is the rule. Kerbrat-Orecchioni / Journal of Pragmatics 36 (2004) 1–24
5. Shared focus encounters In shared focus encounters.1. 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. Grosjean and Traverso bring other relevant axes to light. they introduce a number of useful distinctions which sharpen that of Goﬀman between simple ‘gatherings’ and veritable ‘encounters’. (translated from the French) In this same article. as Grosjean and Traverso state (1998: 51): The question of number is not in itself fundamentally the main question.
in order to restore symmetry.17 In addition to this. we diﬀerentiate within the participation framework between the production format and the reception format. all those who happen to be in perceptual range of the event will have some of participation status relative to it. as though adding but another interchange to a chronic conversation in progress. he or she can adopt variable footing. Kerbrat-Orecchioni / Journal of Pragmatics 36 (2004) 1–24
back into silence. Participation Participants are deﬁned by Goﬀman as being ‘‘in perceptual range of the event’’. Curiously enough. In more informal situations.1.
6. 6. These very useful distinctions nevertheless bring up a number of diﬃculties. In our approach. there is a corresponding participation framework.1. as in the double-focus and even triple-focus interactions in the home described by Vincent (1995) and Grosjean and Traverso (1998: 62–63). the interviewer shifts from ‘neutral’ footing (consisting of producing purely factual utterances) to an ‘evaluative’ or even ‘controversial’ attitude. where participants are pulled to and fro between diﬀerent foci of attention. Problems 6.1. all this with no apparent ritual marking. 1981: 134–135) In professional settings. Clayman (1992) shows that in news-interview discourse. 1981: 3) The participation framework corresponds to the ensemble of ‘participation statuses’. *Participation status: Goﬀman distinguishes between ‘ratiﬁed participants’ (‘addressed’ and ‘unaddressed recipients’) and ‘non-ratiﬁed participants’ (‘bystanders’: ‘overhearers’ and ‘eavesdroppers’). because
See Marcoccia (this issue). *Participation framework: When a word is spoken. it can be said to be ‘emergent’. The codiﬁcation of these various positions and the normative speciﬁcation of appropriate conduct within each provide an essential background for interaction analysis. ‘author’. multi-focusing is ‘structural’. for example. or ‘principal’. he does not refer in this connection to a ‘reception format’.C.
. (Goﬀman. But the criterion of perceptual access (visual and/or auditory) is too limited. 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’. (Goﬀman. For each of the situations earlier.
ratiﬁed. suggesting that even those who are ‘momentarily disengaged’ should be included in the category of participants. in the viewpoint of some researchers. addressed (maximal degree). etc. for Goﬀman. according to Goﬀman. ratiﬁed recipients. In the last case.2. even in a loose sense. postures. The latter is the case of all kinds of ‘audience’. deﬁnes only those who are ‘ratiﬁed’ and ‘attentive’ as ‘participants’. given the legitimacy of their presence on the site. claiming that ‘‘the jury are only very loosely speaking ratiﬁed recipients [. .
. a town council meeting.]. unaddressed (minimal degree). according to the scheme proposed by Bell (1984): addressee: known. Ratiﬁcation Ratiﬁed participants are.12
C. overhearer: known.19
Indeed. for example. however. Kerbrat-Orecchioni / Journal of Pragmatics 36 (2004) 1–24
it excludes situations such as written discourse. has ipso facto a certain ‘participation status’. unratiﬁed. there are two categories of spectators. unaddressed. though they in many cases are intended recipients. For Drew (1992). eye-contact network). both are ratiﬁed as listeners. insofar as this copresence cannot fail to have some impact on the behaviour of the people who are in contact with each other. 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. Indeed. Heritage (1985) has the same attitude regarding the ‘audiences’ of news interviews. unaddressed. 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.
6. In fact. or a TV talk show. relayed talk. such as the spectators attending a court trial. and the fact that the discourse produced is also (sometimes even mainly) intended for them. in opposition to Goﬀman. as witnessed by the way the members of the group are physically positioned (proxemics. oﬃcially a part of the conversation group. In a sense. who are nevertheless still ratiﬁed. *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).1. It seems therefore advisable to recognize the existence of diﬀerent degrees of participation. adopts a kind of intermediate position. . The spectators are not. It is also too broad. and eavesdropper: unknown. if seems diﬃcult not to admit that jurors and even spectators of a trial in a courtroom are ratiﬁed to a certain extent.’’ Nevertheless. noting a continuum between evident engagement and total disengagement (and vice versa). every person present on the site of the interaction. and McCawley (1984: 263) contributes a very slight nuance to this view. those who are present in the television studio and those who are watching the program on their TV screens. whether oﬃcially ratiﬁed or non-ratiﬁed as a participant. Levinson (1988). And Goodwin (1981: 107 ﬀ). unratiﬁed. auditor:18 known. Yet there is a great deal of disagreement among theoreticians regarding this issue as well. their displayed interest in the proceedings. ratiﬁed.
it seems preferable to assume that address cues often establish a gradual ranking of main addressee(s) and secondary addressee(s).1. poses the problem of address markers. . the roll-call procedure constitutes the main ratiﬁcation technique. head movements). 6.
. however. Kerbrat-Orecchioni / Journal of Pragmatics 36 (2004) 1–24
whose permissible reactions are limited to a few non-verbal manifestations such as laughter or applause. ratiﬁcation is based on the script. i. eye and body orientation. or paralinguistic and kinesic indications (vocal intensity. on a global level. 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). depending on the sequence.
6. The determination of addressee(s). Address Within the category of ratiﬁed participants. As explicit signals (principally terms of address) are rather seldom present. Goﬀman insists in particular on ‘visual cues’. These techniques vary depending on the interaction situations.21 and deﬁnes the addressee as ‘‘the one to whom the speaker addresses his visual attention’’ (1981: 133). Goﬀman distinguishes between addressed recipients (to whom the speaker oﬃcially addresses his or her utterance) and non-addressed recipients (‘side participants’ for Clark. but. and *ratiﬁcation devices: Various devices can be used by the ratiﬁer. between that of an addressed and a non-addressed recipient. This continuum can have two forms. intonations. some types of ratiﬁcation (and non-ratiﬁcation) are only determined at a local level. a recipient can have a status that is intermediate.e. At any given t1 moment of the interaction. Cases of this would be:
In the example of the town council meeting (Witko. see Lacoste (1989: 266–267).1.3. Continuum at a moment t1. instead of referring to a discrete opposition between ‘addressees’ and ‘non-addressees’. But such markers are often ambiguous. mainly kinesic. 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). 21 Inaccessible to the analyst who does not have access to a video recording.20 Ratiﬁcation may of course give rise to negotiating among the participants. however. *levels of ratiﬁcation: On a global level. ‘auditors’ for Bell).C. in relation to a particular episode or task (see Bruxelles and Kerbrat-Orecchioni’s analysis (this issue) of a radio discussion in which. 2000).1. 22 For an example during a corporate work session. 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. of attentiveness and involvement). one participant or another will be oﬃcially ratiﬁed by the moderator). all the participants are ratiﬁed.22 So. or by the participant seeking ratiﬁcation (indicators. . which deﬁnes oﬃcial roles.3.
in relation to a change in the orientation of the speaker’s glance] (2) Since you stopped teaching the class. in fact. this is not always what really happens. in a murmur. or by an oﬃce employee working in front of a computer.4.
6. There are also cases in which someone thinks aloud in someone else’s presence. Paris: Gallimard. producing brief apparent soliloquies. 1995). Unlike ratiﬁed recipients. exclamations. 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. which are not in fact authentic ‘self talk’. Levinson. 1988: 206 ﬀ). although still not exactly leaving the other members of the audience ‘unaddressed’. but it was diﬃcult to know whether she was saying that for his beneﬁt or to herself. or ‘adventitious participants’. Between t1 and t2 (two consecutive moments in time). she doesn’t know how to talk!
6. This distinction is. Goﬀman distinguishes between two sub-classes within the category of bystanders: overhearers and eavesdroppers. 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. However. or ‘half-aside’ (semi-aparte is a frequent theatrical ` device. as in a classroom setting. as Goﬀman notes.’’ (Milan Kundera.23 Well-known examples are interjections.14
C. are present in most communication situations (‘‘Their presence should be considered the rule’’). ‘response cries’ (cf. ‘favouring’ some members (because they perhaps produce more back-channel signals). a gradual shift can occur from one addressee to another. and the intentionality/unintentionality of the bystander’s hearing. where the teacher’s sweeping glance over the audience is perforce unequal.2. subtle vocal variations. 1974: 180. Risibles amours. and in domestic situations where each participant goes about his own activities. 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. 1981: Chapter 2). For example. 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. particularly in Moliere’s comedies. Continuum between t1 and t2. based on two diﬀerent criteria which do not necessarily converge: the speaker’s awareness/unawareness of the bystander. Goﬀman. [co-reference between ‘‘he’’ and ‘‘your’’. Non-ratiﬁed recipients (or bystanders) Non-ratiﬁed recipients.
.3. This can even be done more brusquely by using the pronominal marker. the main addressee can be changed in mid-sentence by shifts of gaze. for example. and ‘out-louds’ (cf. since the presence of other people exercises a certain degree of control over the vocal productions of all the participants (see Vincent.1.or herself or to someone else. *Collective address: This is the case when a speaker is talking before a large audience. etc. The ‘semi-self talk’. ´) translated from the French).1.
in particular as it operates in drama: theatrical discourse can indeed be considered an immense communicational trope. according to Goﬀman. I introduced the term ‘trope communicationnel’ in L’implicite (Paris: Colin. The target does not always coincide with the addressee.e. unintentionally. and inadvertently. Greatbatch (1992: 269–270). non-ratiﬁed participants (with. I then studied this mechanism on several occasions. on the other hand. 6. on the other hand. but a target for the author and the actors. Proposals 6. who considers the audience as the ‘primary address’ in news interviews (the term ‘primary’ actually meaning here ‘intended’). i. where I propose an ‘extended theory of the trope’. since the audience is an ‘eavesdropper’ for the characters. . And we will add another category to those of Goﬀman: Ã Target (Levinson. Ã Ratiﬁed participants vs. When there is a discrepancy between these two types of recipients. follow the talk temporarily. 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). Kerbrat-Orecchioni / Journal of Pragmatics 36 (2004) 1–24
bystander within the perceptual space. 1988: 210 ﬀ) or intended recipient (McCawley. enacting shows of disinterest and minimizing their actual access to the talk. reception format.C. as we have seen. Eavesdroppers. Main distinctions Within the participation framework (ensemble of participation statuses). On the basis of this criterion.2. Such participants are only exceptionally promoted to the status of ‘addressees’. examples of overhearers would be: factory workers doing repair work in an oﬃce where a meeting is being held. in Goﬀman’s words.2. different degrees and modes of ratiﬁcation). Examples of eavesdropping.1.
. In addition to this speaker-linked criterion. 1986). Ã Main addressees vs. Ã Bystanders (either overhearers or eavesdroppers) (among non-ratiﬁed recipients). . Interviews and various types of talk on the media operate to a certain extent in the same way—cf. Goﬀman’s deﬁnition brings in another criterion. connected to the attitudes or motives of hearers themselves. ‘‘they may surreptitiously exploit the accessibility they ﬁnd they have.’’ (1981: 132). or staﬀ in charge of handling technical problems during a conference. 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. 1984). are indiscreet listeners who do everything they can to intercept discourse which is in no way intended for their ears. secondary (or side) addressees (among ratiﬁed recipients). we will base our study of polylogue on the following distinctions: Ã Production format vs. Overhearers. the person for whom the utterance is really intended.
etc. in part. . explained Monsieur de Charlus to Monsieur de Cambremer. Paris: folio.: 212) This indirect strategy of address is applied with varying degrees of ‘audacity’. 6. student. which are based on tasks which are carried out (giving the ﬂoor. . i. depending on the situation. For example. far from being out of fashion. interactional roles. (Sodome et Gomorrhe II: 212) I aﬀorded myself the pleasure of informing her. the entire dissertation was. This opening sequence is apparently addressed to the interviewee. such as those of a journalist. (ibid. in front of an astounded Morel to whom. buyer (these roles being. the communicational trope can be accompanied by a ‘syllepsis’ (or double meaning).3. a tradesperson). examples: moderator. in relation to whom it has a stronger value. that Chopin. a professor. but the functioning of an interaction also involves other types of roles as well: for example. interviewer vs. and discursive roles. but did it by addressing the information to her mother-in-law. which are based on the script. After brilliantly pursuing studies in philology at the Sorbonne. here a ‘knowing participant’. answering questions. .2. teacher vs. interviewee.1. 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.16
C. It is obviously compatible with the phenomenon mentioned in Section 3. 334. you were obliged to leave in order to go into military service in Algeria [. Additionally. salesperson vs. that of an informative statement. But its main target is clearly the listener. you were born in Paris in 1940. I do indeed think that one should talk
. if not addressed. an interview usually begins as follows: Mr. Kerbrat-Orecchioni / Journal of Pragmatics 36 (2004) 1–24
‘Ah!’ he said.] (Du co ´ de chez Swann.). determined by social and institutional statuses. was Debussy’s favorite musician. the strategy is more audacious when the real target is an overhearer than when he or she is a secondary addressee. X.2. in order to hit a ball one plays against the edge of the billiard-table. for whom its value is at most a request for conﬁrmation. as when playing billiards.]. .2. 6. For example.e. italics added) ‘The duchy of Aumale was in our family for a long time before becoming a part of the Maison de France’. of multiplication of the illocutionary values of the utterance depending on its diﬀerent addressees. Diﬀerent types of roles Participation statuses can be called interlocutive roles. to tell the truth. 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 [. speaking to no one in particular. then at least intended.
described in detail by Goodwin. Change is complete in cases of ‘splitting-oﬀ’. or disguisement (1992: 255–256). The intrusion can be negotiated by the participants by means of diﬀerent procedures. Clark (1989. of ratiﬁcation. denoting diﬀerent degrees of participation. nor for everyone. 1984: 161). (Ciceron. Following Sacks et al. resulting in what Goﬀman (1981: 135) calls ‘‘structural instability’’. as it can for the people who are themselves involved in the interaction. 1992) also notes that when we speak. patients. the Recipient Design Principle is ‘‘the most general principle particularizing conversational interaction. the listeners’ responsibilities are not the same. These continual ﬂuctuations in the framing can take place by means of either gradual shifting or abrupt changes. 1992). concealment. Goodwin (1991) of playful commentaries made in the course of a narrative episode during family table talk in an American home. side participants (Clark and Carlson. etc. translated from the French) Conversation analysts express the same idea in their own terms.H. nor against everyone. but we do not deal with them all in the same way. 1989. In addition. Fuzziness and graduality of categories Attribution of a given status to a participant can pose problems for the analyst. This principle has been illustrated for all types of participants. involuntary or voluntary. (1974: 727). Finally. For example.2. Thus. of address. 1982). 123.4.25 crossplay. it can also occur that participants’ statuses can be seen diﬀerently from each other’s points of view. disclosure. the main purpose of byplay is not to disrupt the dominant interaction. The fuzziness of the markers also brings about the possibility of misunderstandings.’’ 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. such as indiﬀerence. All the categories which go to make up the participation framework are gradual. One ‘slides’ from one conversation to the other in gatherings. ‘‘speakers can legitimately choose among a range of attitudes’’.
. that is.C. people in disadvantaged positions (children. l’Orateur: XXXV–XXXVI. 6. or partial when ‘subordinate communication’ arises parallel to the ‘dominating communication’. According to Goﬀman. there are three cases of partial change: byplay. Johnson and Roen. we ‘design’ our utterance with all our potential listeners in mind. the man who is capable of adapting his language to what is ´ appropriate to each case will be said to be eloquent. In the same way. Goodwin shows that the framework is at the same time both undermined and upheld—generally. but be treated as unratiﬁed participants by their partners in interaction. nor are their abilities and handicaps. which arises among ratiﬁed participants. Kerbrat-Orecchioni / Journal of Pragmatics 36 (2004) 1–24
neither all the time. interlocutive conﬁgurations are frequently moved around. and even within the same conversation. which takes place between
25 On byplay also see the analysis proposed by M. nor to everyone in the same way. constant changes in format and in footing can be observed throughout interaction. and overhearers (Schober and Clark. the elderly) may consider themselves to be ratiﬁed participants. 1992). Special attention should be paid to one’s addressee. whereas towards overhearers. Paralleling this. audiences (Drew.
in contrast. for example. where a line on the ﬂoor marks oﬀ a physical boundary for the exchange taking place at the counter. but this ‘sliding’ from one addressee to another will sometimes have to be accompanied by the speaker’s reshaping and redesigning the utterance. above all. The ﬁrst in line is ‘more ratiﬁed’ than the last. more speciﬁcally. and.e. 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. which consists of ‘‘hushed words exchanged entirely among bystanders’’ (1981: 133–134). a moment in time when A.
. Such choices are made on the basis of various principles. and the person who is ‘too often looked at’ tries to remedy this embarrassing situation by refusing eye-contact with the speaker. a veritable overhearer. by leaning on the counter. if only to verify whether his/her turn at the counter is coming up. 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. a customer. The other customers who are standing in line at the same counter. 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. and an unaddressed participant can. to illustrate these principles of analysis. an employee. 6. etc. Building the participation format is a fundamentally collaborative process. for example.27 Likewise. and sideplay.26 But they are also highly adaptable.3. of what goes on in a French post oﬃce. and ﬁrst of all. and especially the graduality of the categories. of the reception format conﬁguration at t1. such a strategy is aimed at getting the speaker to distribute address signals more equitably. addresses B. 27 This behaviour would be impossible now in most French post oﬃces. Kerbrat-Orecchioni / Journal of Pragmatics 36 (2004) 1–24
ratiﬁed participants and bystanders. negotiable. and can use his or her ‘quasilegitimacy’ in order to speed up a transaction which is dragging on too long. are at the same time more ‘legitimate’ listeners than. without being really ratiﬁed in relation to the interaction in progress. in order to safeguard the conﬁdentiality of the interaction in progress (since many French residents also do their banking at the post oﬃce). let us take the example. the speaker will fall back on another addressee who seems better disposed to listening. the people
Such as ‘Preference for the best source’ and ‘Preference in selecting a spokesperson’. by moving in closer. a person sitting near us on a bus (i. 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. and. Goodwin (1981). The customers in the waiting-line have hierarchical ranking in terms of ratiﬁcation. It is up to the speaker to attribute a particular participation status to each member of the reception format. At t1: B is ratiﬁed and is the main addressee. who must hide whatever interest he or she may have in our conversation). shows that when it seems that the targeted addressee is not listening. in Leonardi and Viaro’s study (1990) of encounters between doctors and their patients.18
C. to choose one or several main addressee(s). studied by Traverso (1997). An example As a conclusion. for example.
. This post oﬃce participation framework constantly changes. Kerbrat-Orecchioni / Journal of Pragmatics 36 (2004) 1–24
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. has been given a particular status. and if we wanted to make a list of all those who are participating in one way or another. They are part of the staﬀ and can. that we are interacting with each other face-to-face. The other postal employees behind counters are more ratiﬁed than the waiting customers. So this is a complex polylogal situation.] If we wanted to draw a spatio-temporal ‘map’ of all that is to be found in an interaction. in fact. such as ‘broadening’. to other places. all interactions are inﬁnitely open ‘‘to other elements. Observed as it unfolds. but they become ratiﬁed participants less easily than the employees actually behind the counters who are speciﬁcally in charge of customer contact. Even the person whom we are addressing comes from a background which goes far beyond the framework of our relationship. although their actions continue to make themselves felt. 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. but the garment we are wearing comes from somewhere else. for. if necessary. to other times. C. to other participants’’: It is said. where interactions between A and various successive customers. Other postal workers who happen to be present in the post oﬃce are also legitimate listeners. (1994: 590.
. like a ‘crossroads of interactions’. as well as of our present inability to simultaneously integrate micro approaches (concerning the interaction itself) and macro approaches (concerning background and social aspects). an on-the-job trainee. . if only to change lines in case their own line stops moving). 1997). But this notion of an ‘interaction behind closed doors’ is really an artiﬁce. ‘restratiﬁcation’. . in fact. not only because the main addressee at t1 moment in time becomes the current speaker at t2 moment in time. Among them. the words we are using were not designed for the situation. it is. close to that of a secondary addressee (as he is more or less supposed to observe everything that goes on). but also owing to perpetual movements within the reception format. . as Latour (1994: 590) reminds us. without looking too closely. and ‘reorientation’ (cf. places and people. ‘reduction’. the walls we are leaning against were designed by an architect for a client and built by construction workers. translated from the French) This is a salutary reminder of the over-simplistic nature of the classical perspective on interaction. all absent now. They are therefore legitimate listeners. but instead a very disheveled intertwining network implying an untold number of extremely diverse dates. be ‘called to the rescue’. [. Traverso. we would not see a clearlyoutlined frame.C.
The article focuses on shift-change brieﬁng sessions between teams going oﬀ duty and teams coming on duty in diﬀerent types of hospital wards. Michel Marcoccia’s study speciﬁcally analyses how polylogues function ‘on line’ in Internet newsgroups. which emerge at certain speciﬁc points in time. the authors make a distinction between two main categories of coalitions: those which are imposed by the frame of the interaction and ‘emerging’ coalitions. and ‘macro-local’ levels. However. examining in detail two phenomena peculiar to the polylogue. and not merely [.] as a variant oﬀ two-party conversation’’ (Lectures. The newsgroup’s mode of communication obviously has a great deal of inﬂuence on the structure of exchanges and the way they work. the parts have the same structure as the whole). Such is indeed the leitmotiv which runs through these studies: that of the extreme complexity and ﬂexibility of polylogal organizations—especially since. Yet. local. the investigation moves towards the interpersonal relationship level. Michele Grosjean’s article examines the participation framework in a particular type of talkat-work produced within the hospital context. Kerbrat-Orecchioni / Journal of Pragmatics 36 (2004) 1–24
7. After having distinguished among global. She emphasizes the fact that. In the article by Sylvie Bruxelles and Catherine Kerbrat-Orecchioni. the ‘crowding’ phenomenon and the ‘splitting-oﬀ’ phenomenon. . as early as 1967. which she describes in relation to the topical lines followed by the participants. 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. and ‘quadrilogal’ encounters in French notaries’ oﬃces in the context of divorce settlements. unlike dilogues (which are objects possessing a sort of fractal structure: on a diﬀerent scale. while implicitly modeling themselves on face-to-face speech. at the same time. revealing gradual shifts in the basic participation structures of these encounters from straight dilogues between departing and arriving parties to genuine polylogues. whose complexity presently deﬁes all attempts of formalization. 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. Such complexity would be enough to discourage any researcher. Sacks recommended that the functioning of multi-party conversations be ‘‘investigated in its own terms. the functioning of the participation framework can only be described in relation to the professional statuses of the respective participants. focusing on still another type of phenomenon which characterizes polylogues: the possibility of establishing alliances or coalitions. ´ Veronique Traverso’s study concerns a semi-formal meeting of researchers belonging to the same research group.20
C. After examining the various procedures which can be used to form a coalition. Marcoccia concludes that this mode of communication only makes more salient certain problems which are characteristic of all polylogal exchanges. in such hospital contexts.
. The studies in this publication ` This special issue investigates diﬀerent types of polylogal situations. via the written channel. . she takes an even closer look at the macro-local level. Finally.
(chapter 8 with Edward F. Aronsson. social psychology. Herbert H. how can one resist the urge to take on this challenge?28
. adding that if two-party conversations are ‘‘much blander’’. 60–81. Aston. 1997a. Focus on the Language Classroom: An Introduction to Classroom Research to Language Teachers. University of Canterbury. The discourse of corporate meetings. In: Goody. 1–23. 1997. Arenas of Language use. M. Some Universals in Language use. Astrid. The Discourse of Negotiation. Language 58.. on classroom interactions: Pica and Doughty (1985). Understanding by addresses and overhearers. Drew and Heritage (1992b). Amsterdam. A. Hily. 1999. Clark. pp. Wright (1987). Clark. 1995. (Ed. Multi-participant situations have already been much investigated in the ﬁeld of sociology (following the work of Georg Simmel). Cambridge University Press. Linguistic investigations on this issue are much less numerous—see among others: on everyday conversations: Tannen (1984).). 1995).. L’Harmattan. Bargiela-Chiappini.). Guy. .: 533). Larrue and Trognon (1993). Goodwin (1991).). Veronique. Publications de l’Universite de Provence. Revue quebecoise de linguistique 25 (2). Olson et al. .. Negotiated Interaction in Target Language Classroom Discourse.
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