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On analysing the exchanges of spoken discourse

11 March 2014

LinC seminar by Margaret Berry

Abstract. What is really going on in the exchanges in which we engage in spoken discourse? How can we analyse such exchanges in such a way as to bring out the knowledge relations and the power relations, or the politeness relations and  the solidarity relations, between the speakers? Do the same kinds of exchange occur in sequences of letters or emails, though with longer time lapses between the moves? The session will revisit work on exchange structure from the nineteen-seventies and nineteen-eighties and will introduce a framework for analysis which combines a Hallidayan metafunctional approach with the approach of the then Birmingham school. Information will be provided on currently ongoing work in Australia which uses the framework in connection with various forms of pedagogic discourse, interviews with young offenders, the language of people with traumatic brain injury or other intellectual disability, and on work in the UK relevant to politeness and solidarity relations between close friends. Members of the audience will be invited to join in bits of analysis along the way to try out the framework and its relevance to various forms of discourse.

March 11, 3-5pm, room 3.66 in the John Percival Building, Cardiff University.