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Introduction to Linguistics 7 Spoken Language (cont.) Prof. Jo Lewkowicz 1.

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Presentation on theme: "Introduction to Linguistics 7 Spoken Language (cont.) Prof. Jo Lewkowicz 1."— Presentation transcript:

1 Introduction to Linguistics 7 Spoken Language (cont.) Prof. Jo Lewkowicz 1

2 Conversational analysis Analyse the following conversation extract in terms of adjacency pairs, insertion sequence and negotiation of meaning: 1.S:Could you pick up some little fish? 2.J:Er... What sort of little fish? 3.S:You know, if you’re going to be in Bayswater... 4.J:You mean the little fish biscuits? 5.S:Yea... for Tim 6.J:Sure, if they have some. 2

3 Negotiation of meaning A: You gotta tie that thing up under there – know what I mean? B:Yeah. A:I saw your girlfriend talking to Steve last night. B:My girlfriend? A:Yeah, your girlfriend. I didn’t know they knew each other. B:Neither did I! A:Can you pass me the Phillip’s head? B:The what? A:The screwdriver there on the table. 3

4 Co-construction of meaning Often interlocutors help each other as a dialogue progresses as in the following instance: A:How do I get to Kensington Road? B:Well, you go down Fullarton Road... A:... what down Old Belair and around...? B: Yeah, and then you go straight... A:... past the hospital? B: Yeah, keep going straight, past the racecourse to the roundabout. You know the big roundabout? A: Yeah. B: And Kensington Road’s off to the right. A: What, off the roundabout? B: Yeah. A: Right. 4

5 Turn taking Look at the following extract and discuss how each of the speakers enters the conversation: Gary: If I won the Lotto, I’d buy six or seven catamarans up at Noosa and sit them on the beach and hire them out and just rest there all the time. (Everyone laughs). Pauline: Oh yes, and then you – you’d want something to do. Gary: Yes, you would but... Bronwyn: Mm, no look, even if I’d won the Lotto, I’d still have to come to work – I couldn’t stand it. Gary: No, that’s right. Bronwyn: I couldn’t stand it. Pauline: Yes, I think that um... Pat: I’d buy my farm. Bronwyn: I’d still – no. I need contact with people. Pauline: Yes, that’s right – I think I’d probably – if I’d paid off all my debts and wouldn’t have that on my mind – I’d feel better – um but then I’d think I would like to work part time.... (From: Nunan, 2007: 94) 5

6 Grice’s cooperative maxims When interacting people cooperate with each other and in so doing help discourse to proceed The cooperative principle formulated by Grice in 1975 accounts for how people interpret discourse The 4 maxims of the cooperative principle are: – Be brief – Be true – Be relevant – Be clear If the speaker breaks any one of these maxims, then misunderstanding is likely to occur. 6

7 Potential causes of miscommunication Cross cultural Imprecision / ambiguity Misapprehension of speaker’s intentions Intentional misunderstanding Henry: I have two tickets for the theatre tonight. Matilda: Good for you. What are you going to see? Henry: Measure for Measure. Matilda: Interesting play. Hope you enjoy it. Henry: Oh, so you’re busy tonight. 7

8 Indirectness in conversation We do not always say exactly what we mean when we speak – we may express our intention indirectly Compare: Please pass me the salt & I like my chips with lots of salt Degree / strength of indirectness may vary, we may hedge what we say to varying degrees: Could you give me a little wine please? Would you mind passing me the wine bottle? That’s an interesting looking bottle. Hmm, my glass appears to be empty again. This cheese would go with a little of that wine. Is that the delicious Chilean Cabernet you were talking about? 8

9 Degrees of indirectness Degree of indirectness will be governed by: – Relative power of the speaker over the hearer – Social distance between the speaker and hearer – Degree to which X is rated an imposition in culture Y – Relative rights and obligations between speaker and hearer 9

10 Risk of indirectness Indirectness may be costly in that an indirect utterance takes longer to say and longer to process. Compare: Pass me that hammer. I wonder whether you would mind passing me that hammer Indirectness may be risky as it may be intentionally or unintentionally misunderstood (as in the case of Henry & Matilda, slide 7). Directness may be face threatening and indirectness face saving 10

11 Speech acts Speech acts are a description of utterances in terms of what they are doing functionally. There are 3 dimensions to a speech act: – Its locutionary aspect: the propositional meaning of an utterance – Its illocutionary force: the function the speaker intends to perform making the utterance – Its perlocutionary effect: the effect that an utterance has on a listener, or the interpretation that the listener places on the utterance 11

12 Dimensions of speech acts illustrated What is the locutionary aspect, the illocutionary force and the perlocutionary effect of A’s utterance in each of the examples below? Example 1 A: It’s 1:20! B: I know, I’m sorry the traffic was awful. Example 2 A: It’s 1:20! B: Is it really? Example 3 A: This cheese would go well with a little of that wine. B: Here you are. Shall I pour some for you? Example 4 A: This cheese would go well with a little of that wine. B: I agree, French reds tend to complement French cheese better than any other wines. 12

13 Types of speech acts Certain utterances are performative – they are not meant to convey information, but to perform an act Example: I now pronounce you man and wife There is no truth value in the above utterance. John Searle, building on John Austin’s original work on speech acts, identified 5 basic speech act types: – Directives – Commissives – Representatives – Declaratives (Performatives) – Expressives 13

14 Taxonomy of speech acts Directives: – speaker wants hearer to do something – speaker may ask, challenge, command, insist, request as in the following examples: Tidy your room! Gran is coming this evening so it would be nice if you could show her your room. – directives may be more or less direct / indirect Commissives: – speaker is committed to varying degrees to some action or refusing to act – commissives include guarantees, pledges, promises, vows as in the following examples: Don’t worry! I’ll be there on time I swear I didn’t do that. – vary in directness and strength Representatives: – speaker is committed to a varying degree to the truth of a proposition – representatives may affirm, conclude, deny, report, express a belief as in the following examples: I finished my homework before switching on the television I think that man is right. – representative can be evaluated for their truth value – representatives may vary in terms of how hedged they are 14

15 Taxonomy of speech acts (cont.) Declaratives: – speaker alters the external status or condition of an object or situation solely by making the utterance – Examples include: I resign I baptize you You’re fired Class dismissed – Speaker must be empowered to make the declaration. Expressives: – speaker expresses an attitude about a state of affairs, – include likes and dislikes, statements of joy and disappointment, compliments as in the following examples: Thanks for a wonderful meal! I don’t really like fish. Congratulations on your success! 15

16 Match the speech act type with the utterance Speech act types: directive, commissive, representative, performative, expressive: 1.What a terrific party! 2.I want to apologise for my behaviour last night. 3.The coffee pot is empty. 4.Don’t worry, I’ll be there by ten. 5.I went to the movies on Saturday. 6.Pass me the matches. 7.I’m really proud of your success! 8.War is hereby declared. 9.Darwin’s theory is at least partially correct. 10.I’ll pay you back tomorrow. 16

17 Context and language use Context has an important effect on the type of discourse produced. Aspects of context that may affect discourse include: – Purpose of utterance – Mode of communication (face-to-face, texting, telephoning) – Gender of the interlocutors (males only, females only, mixed company) – Topic being discussed – Relationship between speakers 17

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