To analyse conversation, ultimately, means to analyse how people interact. In this seminar we will explore how speakers manage the apparently simple task of social interaction in everyday life. We will examine the micro-structures of human conversation, as discovered by the founders of the discipline - Harvey Sacks, Emanuel Schegloff and Gail Jefferson – in the late 1960s. We will learn about the empirical methodology used to analyse real language data from multifarious scenarios, ranging from casual phone calls to institutional talk. Students will acquire the technical skills needed to compile and analyse their own data and conduct their own analyses of the linguistic mechanisms used to establish, organise and maintain social relationships.

Preparatory readings/Coursebook

Sacks, Harvey, Emanuel A. Schegloff and Gail Jefferson. 1974. “A simplest systematics for the organization of turn taking for conversation.” Language 50: 696–735.

Liddicoat, Anthony. 2011. An Introduction to Conversation Analysis. London: Continuum. TIP: Purchase the book in paperback or Kindle format; individual chapters will be accessible temporarily in this course room.