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• When people speak, they produce different
kinds of genres and use different kinds of
‘social languages’.

• They also promote particular versions of

reality and ideologies.

• But there are some ways in which speech is

different from writing.
a) Speech is more interactive
• Receiving feedbacks for our writing will usually be

• When we speak we usually do so in ‘real time’

with other people and we receive their responses
to what we have said right away.

• Conversations are always constructed between or

among the different parties having them.
b) Speech tends to be more transient
and spontaneous than writing.
• Writing has a certain ‘permanence’.

• Our words usually disappear the moment we

utter them.

• People can never reproduce our words the exact

same way as our utterance.
c) Speech tends to be less explicit than
• We rely on non-verbal cues when we speak.

• We get to imply and infer when we speak and

expect people to understand.

• When we are writing we do not have these tools

at our disposal and so often we need to depend
more on the words.
Making Sense of Conversation
• People do not mean what they say and people do
not say what they mean.

• Remember “do you have a pen”?

• If this is the case, then how are we able to make

sense of what they say and successfully engage in
conversation with them?
• Pragmatics
Tends to approach problem as a matter of

• Conversation Analysis
Approaches problem as one of locally
contingent action
Strategic Interaction
• Face strategies: showing who we are and what kind of
relationship we have with people with whom we are

• Framing strategies: showing what we do with


• Interactional sociolinguistics – concerned with the

sometimes very subtle ways people signal and
interpret what they think they are doing and who
they think they are being in social interaction.
• Goffman introduced face and frames.

• Face: positive social values a person effectively

claims for himself by the line others assume he
has taken.

• Frames: definitions of situations that are built up

in accordance with principals of organization
which govern events.
Showing who we are: Face Strategies
• Our identities are always constructed in relation
to the people with whom we are interacting.

• The strategies we use are called face strategies.

• Face: denote a person’s honour or reputation.

• Giving face? Losing face?

• Three important aspects:

• One’s public image rather than one’s true self.

• This image is negotiated.

• This image is mutually granted.

• Two broad kind of strategies we use to negotiate our
identities and relationship in interaction:

• Involvement strategies.
To establish or maintain closeness with the people we
are interacting with.

• Independence strategies.
To establish or maintain distance from the people we
are interacting with.
Showing what we are doing: Framing
• To understand one another, we have to interpret
what other people say in the context of some kind of
overall activity in which we are mutually involved.

• Primary framework of the interaction?

A set of expectations about the overall activity in which
we will be engaged.

• Interaction hardly involves one activity. When we are

interacting with people, we change the activities we
are involved in as we go along.