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Chapter 1 : Feature of conversation

1 -Conversation is spoken :
Conversation is spoken or primarily so, since computer-mediated communication now allows conversation to take place by means of writing. the spoken nature of conversation accounts for the privative rule play by prosodic features such as sentence : stress, intonation and articulation rate and more important voice quality . These prosodic features are significant in conversation management of topics and turns taking and signaling of speaker involvement. 2 -Conversation happens in real time : Conversation It conveys the sense of being locally planned in real time. Compare this to the news article, The real-time spontaneity of talk accounts for a number of features that distinguish it from writing. The most obvious of these are dysfluency effects, which include : hesitations , word repetition , false starts, repairs , unfinished utterances Other devices that buy planning time, and thereby help avert the more distracting effects of fillers as in: Well , and the repetition of sentence frames , Repetition may also take the form of borrowing chunks of the previous speakers utterance,. More generally, it is now thought that a great deal of spoken language is borrowed, in the sense that it is retrieved in chunk form, not simply from other speakers utterances, but from the speakers own store of prefabricated and memorized items FOR EXAMPLE idioms , proverbs , The ability to achieve fluency by stringing chunks together accounts for one of the basic constructional principles of spoken language, which is that talk is built up clause by clause, and phrase by phrase, rather than sentence by sentence, as is the case with written text . This explains why utterance boundaries are less clearly defined in spoken language, and why coordination is preferred to subordination (the use of subordinate clauses). Spoken language consists of frequent sequences of short clauses joined by ( and, but, then, because. if ) . Another characteristic of spoken language which is attributable to its spontaneity is the fact that information is relatively loosely packed. One measure of this density is the proportion of content words (such as nouns and verbs) per clause. Spoken texts are not as lexically dense as written texts 3- Conversation takes place in a shared context In the conversation, where the context is both shared and immediate, the participant This heavily reliance on the shared knowledge of the participants, including knowledge of the immediate temporal and spatial context, accounts for a number of features of talk that distinguish it from most written text. For example: The frequent use of pronouns The frequency of deictic items (that is, words that point to features of the physical context, such as this, that, there, now, then ) Ellipsis, where what is ellipted can be reconstructed from the context Non-clausal expressions that can stand alone, and whose interpretation relies on situational factors, such as yes / no. In summary, in face-to-face interactions participants share not only the Physical context (so that explicit mention of referents is often not necessary) but also the institutional, social and cultural contexts, as well. This sharing of contextual knowledge means that the interpretation of the conversation is dependent on the immediate context. By contrast, in written communication, greater explicitness is needed tonsure understanding. 4 - Conversation is interactive

Conversation is speech but it is not a speech. It is dialogic or, very often, multilogic in that it is jointly constructed and multi-authored. This also means it involves through the taking of successive (and sometimes overlapping) turns by the two or more participants, no one participant holding the floor for more time than it is considered appropriate . Conversation is co-constructed reciprocally and contingently: that is to say, speakers respond to, build upon and refer to the previous utterances of other speakers. Meanings are jointly constructed and negotiated as van Lier put Progression is fast, unpredictable, and turns are tightly interwoven, each one firmly anchored to the preceding one and holding out expectations (creating possibilities, raising exciting options) for the next one. (van Lier, 1996: 177) This dual nature of utterances, whereby they are both retrospective and prospective, is a condition that van Lier calls contingency. In order to anchor contingent utterances, and to signal the direction the fast, unpredictable talk is heading, certain words and phrases occur frequently at the beginning of speakers turns, or at transition points in the flow of talk, such as yes, yeah, yes all right, no, oh, well, so . These are known variously as discourse markers and interactional signals. Written language employs discourse markers, too, but usually not with anything like the frequency they are used in interactive talk. At the same time, there is a greater variety of discourse markers in written language., for example the following, for example, would be rare in spoken language but are frequent in certain kinds of texts, such as academic prose: moreover, therefore, however, whereas, .. Talk has a narrower range of markers, but uses them more frequently The fast and unpredictable nature of conversation means that it is not always plain sailing. Occasionally, ambiguities need to be resolved : Such repair work is possible because of the reciprocal nature of conversation. Speakers are either physically or audibly present and can provide immediate feedback on each others utterances, by, for example, agreeing (yeah), back channeling (mm), showing interest (oh really?), clarifying (you mean. . .?), or responding to questions. At the same time, speakers are having to constantly adapt their message according to their interlocutors reactions, both verbal and paralinguistic (kinesic aproxmic ) . Tannen observes that joint production in which not only is the audience a co-author, but the speaker is also a co listener. She uses the term involvement to characterize this quality, and identifies features such as the rhythmic and repetitive nature of much conversation as being indicative of its high-involvement style. 5 - Conversation is interpersonal In conversation, the right to initiate, to ask questions, to direct the flow of talk is not equally distributed. In casual conversation, however, such as in Text 1.3, such rights are equally distributed: the relationship between speakers is said to be symmetrical. This is not the same as saying that the relationship is one of equality, as van Lier points out: Equality refers to factors extrinsic to the talk, such as status, age, role, and other social and societal factors that decide one person has more power or is more important (or more knowledgeable, wiser, richer, and so on) than another. Symmetry refers purely to the talk and the interaction itself . . . symmetry refers to the equal distribution of rights and duties in talk. The equal distribution of rights in conversation contrasts with the situation in other spoken genres such as interviews (as we have seen), and service encounters (such as those that take place in shops). The function of service encounters is primarily transactional: the speakers have a practical goal to achieve, and the success of the exchange depends on the achievement of that goal. Typical transactional exchanges include such events as buying a train ticket, negotiating a loan or returning a damaged item to a store. To a certain extent it could be argued that the radio interview is transactional, too, but, rather than the transaction of goods or services, it is the transaction of information that is the objective. The same argument might apply also to the interaction that characterizes classrooms (including language classrooms), another context in which rights are not equally distributed and where information is being transacted typically in the form of facts. Conversation does not have as its objective the trending of either goods or services nor of formation .What is at stake in casual conversation is the social well-being of the participants, the aim being essentially phatic, i.e. to signal friendship and to strengthen the bonds within social groups. Rather than being

directed at the achievement of some practical goal, the talk is primarily directed at the establishing and servicing of social relationships. For this reason conversation has been labeled interactional as opposed to transactional. It is important to emphasize that talk is seldom purely transactional or purely interpersonal, but that both functions are typically interwoven in spoken language: even the most straightforward transactions are tempered with interpersonal language (such as greetings) and chat amongst friends would be ultimately unrewarding without some kind of information exchange taking place (as in Text 1.3). Nevertheless, the primary purpose of a shopping exchange is not social, and nor is the primary purpose of the storm conversation to exchange factual information 6- Conversation is informal Partly because of its spontaneous and interactive nature, and partly because of its interpersonal function, conversation is characterized by an informal style. An informal (or casual) style contrasts with the style of more formal spoken genres, such as speeches and recorded announcements, where formal speech is defined as a careful, impersonal and often public mode of speaking used in certain situations and which may influence pronunciation, choice of words and sentence structure Informality in speech is characterized by lexical choices such as the use of slang, swearing and colloquial language and by pronunciation features, such as the use of contractions. A feature of conversations informal style is the frequent use of vernacular grammar i.e. , the use of stigmatized forms that are often associated with a particular regional variety. Chapter II - Approaches to the analysis of conversation Conversation, then, has been analyzed from the perspective of a number of different academic disciplines. The most important of these are sociology, sociolinguistics, philosophy and linguistics, and one of the basic assumptions shared by all the different models , is that conversation is structurally patterned, and displays an orderliness that is neither chaotic nor random but, rather, is tightly organized and coherent 1 - Sociological approaches Perhaps the most significant contribution to the study of conversation has come, not from linguistics, but from sociology. A fundamental concern of sociologists is to account for the organization of everyday life, including the way that social activities are structured and ordered. The sociological approach to analyzing talk-in-interaction has come to be known as Conversation Analysis (CA), a branch of sociology which posits that it is in and through conversation that most of our routine everyday activities are accomplished. The objective of CA is to describe and explain the orderliness of conversation by reference to the participants tacit reasoning procedures and sociolinguistic competencies the proper object of study is the set of techniques that a number of society use to interpret and act within their own social words hence the use of the term ethno methodology i.e. the study of ethnic i.e. participant own method of production and interpretation of social interaction out of this background comes a healthy suspicious of premature theorizing : as for as possible the categories of analysis should be those that participant themselves can be shown to use unmaking sense of interaction an motivated theoretical and an substantiated intuitions are all to be avoided . 2 - Sociolinguistic approaches Sociolinguistic approaches are concerned with the analysis of language in its social context, and the way that language use varies according to contextual and cultural factors. Hymes (1972a), one of the foremost proponents of what is called the ethnography of speaking, proposed a frame work for investigating the contextual factors that impact on any speech event .he distinguish component which he grouped using the word SPEAKING as an acronym these factors include setting time , place and other physical condition rounding speech act seeing the sociological conter part to setting , participant the speaker or sender, the addresser the hearer , audience and the addressee .ends propose act sequences form

and content of the message, keys( the tone of the conversation instrumentalities i.e. the norms of interaction and the norm of interpretation and finally genre whether we have advertisement talk armed with these frame work an ethnographer would seek not only to describe the speech event under study, but to explain it, particularly in relation to the culture in which it is embedded 3 - Philosophical approaches are represented by speech act theory its speech act theory language is seeing as formal auctioned this theory stems the school of philosophy which called ordinary language philosophy the opponent of this school which flourished in England in the middle of 20th century taught to analyses philosophical problems by looking at ordinary language and what insight it could offer into reality for example the ethical question of .why human activity is judged to be good or bad demands that the use individuals apologies for bad behavior they also studied by studying how people preformed speech acts such as apologizing promising ordering these philosopher or ordinary language which to contribute to the solution of philosophical problems. 4 - Linguistic approaches Are represented by the Birmingham School of Discourse Analysis this school was interested in identifying the grammar of interaction, and in particular the way a speakers discourse choices are pre-determined by the immediately preceding utterance, his approached focus meanly the analysis of classroom discourse . This discourse grammar was described in terms of a hierarchy, from the largest units (e.g. a lesson) to the smallest, units which are being the individual acts of which a lesson might be composed such as eliciting, informing and evaluating . Intermediate categories in the hierarchy include exchanges structure. The identification of the three-part exchange structure that characterizes classroom interaction initiation, response, follow-up is one of the best known findings of this School. Chapter III : The vocabulary of conversation 2 Vague languages Vagueness is a feature of spoken language that is demands of spontaneity may account for some instances of vagueness for example, the substitution of specific lexical items by words or the over-use of sort of to fill pauses , vagueness and specifically hedging has, primarily, an interpersonal function. What is hedging Hedging is a form of deliberate imprecision so as to avoid either committing oneself, or imposing on ones interlocutors. Hedge is a word or phrase that lessees make less speaker commitment to what they are saying it is any linguistic device by which a speaker avoid being compromised by a statement that turn out to be wrong or request that it is not acceptable hedging could be done by using adverbs such perhaps / maybe or by using a personal disclaimer such as in my view or as far as Im concerned thus instead of saying this arrangement is convincing one might use a hedge and say as far as Im concerned , Im convincing instead of simply giving an order such as carry eat in the kitchen one might use an interrogative as lhedge and say could you perhaps carry to the kitchen thus a speaker uses hedging so as not to sound dogmatic or to give a fence other expressions of vagueness include the use of the indefinite pronounces something and somebody other vague tags include and /or stuff like that and all that sort of thing or what have you , and this , that and the other all are other vague tags they called vague tags. What is the function of vagueness serves the interpersonal function of conversation, and is considered perfectly acceptable. In fact, not to be vague about facts and figures might be considered dogmatic and pedantic , Other common ways of expressing vague quantities include loads of, a lot of, a bit of, umpteen, some, several, a few. vague language allows speakers to compensate for gaps in their lexical knowledge, including those created by online processing demands, remember that conversation happen in a real time 3 Fillers

Some instances of vague language like sort of double as pause fillers, that is, those linguistic devices used to fill a momentary hesitation occasioned by the demands of realtime processing pressure. The most frequent pause fillers (also called hesitators) are er and erm Filling a pause (as opposed to leaving it unfilled) is a convenient way of signalling that the speaking turn is not yet finished Hence fillers tend to occur at potential transition points in the talk, especially those which happen to be the site of online planning pressure, such as at the beginning of a clause. Verbal fillers such as well I mean, well erm you know, are typically used to buy time at the beginning of a speaking turn. Note that I mean is classified here as a verbal filler, but it can also function as a discourse marker to signal the speakers pragmatic intentions. This double function is shared by a number of other common expressions, such as actually, obviously and You know. 4 Discourse markers and other inserts Just as sentences in written text are sequenced and organized into larger thematic units such as paragraphs, talk, too, topically coherent macrostructures. Topics are broached, commented on, developed, extended, replaced, retrieved . . . and all this conversational flux is continuously shaped and negotiated by the interactants. Crucial to this collaborative organizational work is the inserting of discourse markers and other interactional signals Discourse markers serve to show how what is being said is connected to what has already been said, either within a speakers turn or across speaker turns. This relation works at the local level, by connecting adjacent utterances and at the global level, by segmenting the flow of talk into its larger chunks or macro-structures such as signalling the opening or closing of a conversation, or the introduction or resumption of a topic Interactional signals on the other hand, are those devices that function to facilitate the cutand-thrust of online talk. Interactional signals include attention signals (hey!), response elicitors (right? OK? eh?), and their associated response forms (yes, no, OK). These also include back-channel devices such as mm, which function as feedback to the speaker, signalling that the message has been understood and confirming that communication is on course common pragmatic markers, and their respective functions: right, now, anyway These are global discourse markers in that they each provide a frame to the discourse, i.e. they mark the beginning or closing of a segment of talk. Stenstrm notes that, while all three have this framing function, generalizing somewhat, right looks backward, now looks forward, while anyway looks both ways well This is a very common way of initiating a turn and linking it to the preceding turn, with the general function of deliberation, i.e. let me think about that. Often well serves to mark the onset of a contrast, e.g. a difference of opinion. oh This is typically used either to launch an utterance or to respond to the previous speakers utterance, and signals a shift in the speakers orientation to the ongoing flow of talk, often with implications of surprise or unexpectednes so it can stand alone as an interjection and often combines with other inserts, as in oh yeah, oh no, oh wel and, but, or The discourse function of these conjunctions parallels their grammatical function in that they are used to connect discourse, both within and across speaker turns and marking some kind of continuity, but marking a contrast, and or marking an option. And and but are used globally to connect whole discourse units when, for example, they signal the return to a previously mentioned topic

so, because These conjunctions can also be used to signpost discourse moves, both locally and globally, and signal that what follows is the result or the cause of what has been mentioned. yknow, I mean These markers serve to gain and maintain attention on the speaker the first by appealing to the hearers shared knowledge, and the second by signalling that some kind of clarification going to follow Longer expressions that function to signal conversational transitions include such fixed or semi-fixed phrases as in (actual) fact, that reminds me, by the way, speaking of which, I tell you what. longer expressions that serve to launch utterances are called overtures include I would have thought_ Like I say _The question is There again_ What we can do is_ You mean to say .Going back to . Other inserts often grouped along with discourse markers because of Their role in marking transitions, signaling speaker attitude, or in managing interactions are the following: greetings and farewells (hi, bye bye) interjections (oh!, wow!, ugh!) polite formulae (thank you, sorry, please) hedges (I think . . ., . . . actually) expletives (shit!, bloody hell!) It is important to note that there is considerable overlap in the functions of discourse markers, and that the overlap extends to other categories of inserts, such as vague language and fillers . Discourse markers typically occur at the beginning of speaker turns, because they are signalling devices. Tails (sometimes called tags), on the other hand, come at the end of an utterance and serve either to qualify the utterance or to solicit listener involvement. Typical tails of the former type are actually, really, as well as vague category identifiers such as and stuff like that, while involvement solicits include you know? ok? and question tags: does she? isnt it Discourse markers serve to show how what is being said is connected to what has already been said, either within a speakers turn or across speaker turns. This relation works at the local level, by connecting adjacent utterances for example in the extract under study within sues second turn the D.M but is used to signal a contrastive relation, also in sues forth turn the D.M and is used to signal thematic connection, within the some turn the D.M so that is used to signals a casual relation within speaker turn whereas in ninth turn the some D.M signals a casual relation across speaker turn. D.M also function at the global level by segmenting the flow of talk into large chunks for example: in sues ninth turn the D.M oh well signals closure of one topic and onset of a shift in conversation flow, whtin the some turn the D.M anyway signals return to a prior topic, also in Dis last turn D.M well signals a contrast. Interactional signals, on the other hand, are those devices that function to facilitate the flow of talk and interaction between participants for example in Diss second turn the I.S no is a response form conveying agreement to a negative statement in Diss forth turn the Interactional signals right is a response from conveying agreement and the I.S fine thanks is a polite formulae for thanking. Overtures are also made use of in this exchange, for ex; in Sues third, forth turns, to overture : just thought is used as in utterance launcher, signalling personal stance. Tails are devices that come in the end of an utterance and serve either to qualify the utterance or to solicite listener involvement, for ex; in judis three turn the tail realy qualifies the preceding statement, in sues nine turn anyway is used as a tail to qualify the preceding utterance . Question tags are tails which solicite involvement ex; in judis firth turn question tags is not he solicits agreement, in sues ten turn question tags isnot he solicits agreement , in Diss eleven turn Q.t does not he solicits agreement . Identify instences of repletion and indicate their respective finction the same extract. 3.5 Routines and lexical phrases

No discussion of the vocabulary of conversation would be complete without considering the important role played by fixed and semi-fixed multi-word phrases (or lexical chunks) in the achievement of conversational fluency. speakers have at their command a repertoire of literally hundreds of thousands of such items For the purposes of studying the language of conversation it is useful to distinguish between those multi-word items that frequently occur in conversation such multi word item constitute a single grammatical unit (such as a verb, noun or adjective) but have no specific pragmatic function , where as conversation routines are both grammatical units and pragmatically functional. The former are known as lexical phrases and best thought of as being big words i.e. items in the users mental lexicon, stored alongside, single word items . lexical phrases such as kick the bucket out of the blue, bits and pieces. Lexical phrases as this and others can be assigned however they do not performe a specific socio-interactional function . second type of chunk which is called conversational routines include multi word , phrases which have a socio-interactional function , phrases like how do you do , on the other hand have a socio-interactional function . the first functions as a formal greeting , the second signals that what follows contrast with what preceded it . the storage and deployment of what we are calling lexical phrases facilitates production, in that they save valuable processing time Thus, as fluency facilitators, and are primarily speaker oriented. on the other hand, are aimed at achieving efficient comprehension in the interests of social and interactional objectives, and hence are more heareroriented . routine can also be divided into at least two types on the basis of their form: those that are fixed, and those that allow some degree of variation. Examples of fixed routines are: how do you do?, at any rate, what on earth!, I beg your pardon? Examples of routines which contain elements that allow substitution and which are therefore variable, or semi-fixed, include: have a nice day, would you like a ..? Have a nice day functions as an invitation or offer and is followed by an open slot. This latter kind of construction is called a sentence builder, that is a lexical phrase that provides the framework for whole sentences The category of sentence builder includes what we called utterance launchers. Common conversational examples of sentence builders that serve to launch utterances include: that reminds me of X speaking of X it seems to me that X I remember X-ing as far as I can X The thing is that X A further distinction can be made to include those (usually fixed) routines that are conventionalized social formulae, particularly greetings as well as ritualized ways of thanking, apologizing, making requests and making Thanking Apologizing Requests Thank you very much Im sorry would you mind . . .? Many thanks Im awfully sorry how about . . .? Thank you ever so much beg your pardon Thanks a million excuse me as a summary we can have the following categories: categories of multi words item or chunks Lexical phrases standard phrases with simple meanings and with a grammatical category Conversational routines phrases that perform a socio-interactional function, including: Fillers: I mean, sort of Discourse markers Sentence builders and utterance launchers

tags/tails Expletives: bloody hell Social formulae of greetings , apologizing making request Chapter 4 : The grammar of conversation In this chapter we shall be looking at those grammatical forms that occur more frequently or are used differently in casual conversation as compared to other registers 1 Grammatical incompletion Because of the pressure of real time planning, and the jointly constructed nature of conversation, spoken language is often ungrammatical utterances are left incomplete some instances of typical incompletions Abandonment where the speaker abandons or re-starts an utterance Interruption incompletion caused by the interruption of another speaker completion by other speaker 2 Heads and tails In a conversation the body of the message is preceded and followed by optional slots into which matter may be inserted, these optional slots either before or after the body of the message are known, respectively, as heads and tails for example : Oh a friend of ours in London, they had to move out of the flat She was sitting in her living room and a hailstone fell through the skylight, this old woman The head slot typically consists of a noun phrase which serves to identify key information such as the topic and to establish a common frame of reference for what follows whether a statement or a question other example of heads : [Where I live] [It]s the worst shopping centre. [The bloke behind], [he] cant see [His mate with him], [he] hit a tree Heads thus fulfill a discourse function, because they serve to bring a topic of what follows. While the head slot fulfils a largely prospective function, the tail slot is more retrospective in its use, serving to extend, reinforce, mitigate, clarify or otherwise comment on, what the speaker is saying or has just said. Typical tail-slot items are: question tags Interrogatives: Theres a nice cafe there. no? Reinforcement tags: youre in trouble, you are; Evaluative adjectives: He drops them anywhere, terrible; Vague language :you trying to make me talk or something? Comment clauses: The things he does, I dont know; Other element that occur in thats slots are vocatives are common tail-slot items, and are more usually found in the tail slot than the head slot for example how are you bill ; good morning brother . if place in the head slot they attempt to function as attention solicit, if placed in the tail slot they have function of adjacting or reinforcing the social relationship between the speaker and the addresser