The concept of conversational style

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The concept of conversational style

Well I've had this: As was noted above, the choice of details to be included in a transcript is to a large extent based on the insights developed within CA, especially those concerning the sequential organization of talk c. But, at the same time, many researchers in CA emphasize that transcriptions should not be made with a specific research problem or hypothesis in mind.

The ideal would be to have a large corpus of very detailed transcripts that can be used to locate and analyze specific phenomena. For reporting purposes one could then use selected simplified transcripts c. The fact that the transcription system is especially focussed on representing the sequential organization of talk is in accord with CA's basic conception of talk-in-interaction.

The concept of conversational style

At any moment, the future development of the interaction - what in transcripts is to the right and below what is noted - is to a large extent open and yet to be produced by the interactants themselves, in ways that are not in the hands of anyone of them.

Talk-in-interaction is factually always 'closed to the left' and 'open to the right'. While an openness to interactional negotiation may be rather obvious when one considers future developments, it is, in a sense, also true for the present and the past. It can be demonstrated in many cases that, for the participants themselves, what an utterance 'means' and what it 'does' - its semantic and pragmatic import - is not fixed, once it is produced, but is liable to be defined and redefined, in short negotiated, in utterances following it.

The Process of Concept Mapping

These essential properties of conversation are consequential for the study of its organization. The fact that speakers understand an utterance by reference to its turn-within-sequence character provides a central resource for both the participants and the overhearing analyst to make sense of the talk.

So, while utterance 1 may display a specific conception of what's going on, utterance 2 will contain a similar or different conception, after which the speaker of utterance 1 may react to that in utterance 3, possibly with another version c.

In fact, in 'repair sequences' such a negotiation structure is often quite clear.

The concept of conversational style

But also in less outspoken cases, such processes of interactional negotiation and accommodation are going on continuously c. As was suggested in the last quote, these circumstances are an important resource for the conversation analyst, or, as I will argue later, one major 'support strategy' for CA.

The analyst should always compare his readings of the meaning of an utterance with the readings demonstrated in utterances following the target one. No definite 'prove' is provided, however, for, as Heritage and Atkinson Subsequent utterances are not to be seen as an unproblematic window on co-participants' minds.

General characteristics

Many critics of CA, however, seem to suggest that such is the basic objective of CA. To my mind, the interpretation of the meaning of utterances for participants is not an end in itself, but one possible means to an end, which is the analysis of conversational organization. The earlier noted fact that many papers in CA do not contain programmatic explanations, has as one possible effect that readers are not informed on the specific research objectives and strategies of CA.

Such a lack of background knowledge may be one reason why criticisms of CA often make the impression of just missing the point of what CA is all about. For this reason, it seems worthwhile to pursue my explications of CA's basic objectives, before dealing with some of these criticisms. The best way to do so, to my mind, is to connect CA's practice back to the position of ethnomethodology, from which it has been developed.

Before I will do that, I will give one more quote, this time from a transcribed lecture of Harvey Sacks 6 The gross aim of the work I am doing is to see how finely the details of actual, naturally occurring conversation can be subjected to analysis that will yield the technology of conversation.Start with the foundation, not the facade.

Using Concept Maps in Product Development: Preparing to Redesign

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Gina Stepp interviews communication expert Deborah Tannen about some common misperceptions that can get in the way of effective family communication.


a case study from Exposing the Magic of Design: A Practitioner’s Guide to the Methods and Theory of Synthesis. edited by Jon Kolko Oxford University Press. A chatbot (also known as a talkbot, chatterbot, Bot, IM bot, interactive agent, or Artificial Conversational Entity) is a computer program or an artificial intelligence which conducts a conversation via auditory or textual methods.

Such programs are often designed to convincingly simulate how a human would behave as a conversational partner, .

Style (sociolinguistics) - Wikipedia