chap 9 notes

chap 9 notes - The psychology of language: Chapter 9:...

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The psychology of language: Chapter 9: Conversational Interaction Conversation is a form of oral discourse that is distinguished by the absence of explicit rules. Instead conversations are governed by explicit social conventions. A conversation requires at least 2 parties, and has it’s own set of rules and dynamics. The rules of proper conversations vary with the culture. Though it may seem that conversations are so effortless, there appear to be no rules that govern them, in fact this is not true. Rather we have internalized the rules of conversations so completely that we do not need to think of them at all. The most fundamental rule of conversation: Conversation is a form of ‘joint action’ (Herbert Clark 1996, 2002) o Joint action: is one that is carried out an ensemble of people acting in coordination with one another. Ex: waltzing, two people following individual steps together make the waltz. If those people did the steps alone they would not be waltzing. THE STRUCTURE OF CONVERSATION: “ Language of the face-to face conversation is the basic and primary use of language, and all others being best described in terms of their deviation from that base” (Charles Fillmore, 1981-linguist) Comparing conversations to other types of discourse- 1) Debates: have specified topics, rules about speaking order and length, turns of both speakers are indicated; speakers speak individually to extended periods of time. 2) Ceremonies: formalized, topic specified in advance, but length is not, turns are clearly indicated with formal introductions, monologues can be quite long. 3) Meetings: less formal, rules such as Robert’s rules of order are less commonly used to organize the discussion. The discussions vary, there are a greater number of participants, and the time contributions of members also greatly vary. 4) Conversations: least formal type of oral discourse. The number of participants, topic, length, and other factors are left undecided or decided on spot. In the absence of formal rules we have implicit communicative conventions that help organize the conversations.
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Opening conversations: Important notes: Most of the time only one person is speaking at a time; times when 2 or more people are speaking at once tend to be brief. This is specifically with regards to simultaneous turn, rather than simultaneous “talking”. For example it is very common for listeners to say hmm and nod their heads. Points of overlap most commonly occur at the transition between speakers. There is considerable variation in the length and number of turns of each individual Speaker. The length of a speakers turn seems to be an individual characteristic, whereas pauses between vocalizations in a conversation match between conversers, this produces a net effect of conversation rhythm. Conversation beginnings-
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This note was uploaded on 04/22/2008 for the course PSYC 403 taught by Professor ? during the Spring '08 term at McGill.

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chap 9 notes - The psychology of language: Chapter 9:...

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