Category Archives: Human Communication 101

Distribution of Back Channel Tokens

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The distribution of back channel tokens in conversations between non-impaired and learning disabled interlocutors ABSTRACT: The use of back channel tokens to contribute to conversation is well attested in the literature. These recipiency tokens, uttered by the current non-speaker, make no claim to take over a full turn at talk and they do not alter the […]

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Supplementary articles The following articles, some of which derive from empirical research, employ a number of conversation analysis (CA) techniques and procedures that have been outlined in CONVERSATION ANALYSIS 101. As such, they provide further examples of CA in action for the interested reader. Anything on the Backchannel? Vocalizations such as uh huh, mm and […]

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Are You Interested?

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Are you interested? (Talking in an ATC) Kernan and Sabsay (1989) have shown that non-disabled persons recognize someone as having a learning disability primarily because of the way that person talks. Such persons are perceived to be socially unskilled and linguistically incompetent. Frequently they are perceived to be rigid, uninterested or even boring during conversation. […]

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Anything on the Back Channel?

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Where have all the tokens gone? “Well, well….” “Right….yeah.” “Oh, really?….I see.” “Uh huh….uh huh.” “Mm hm….mm.” Vocalizations such as uh huh, mm and oh pervade conversational interaction. They are everywhere. There can hardly be any informal face-to-face conversations which do not provide copious examples of these wee beasties. But, search as you might, you […]

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Analyzing Conversation

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Procedures for analyzing conversation As one might expect, there are several approaches to analyzing conversational interaction. The approaches and procedures vary according to such things as the theoretical assumptions the investigators bring to the task and their overarching aim. For example, John Searle (1969) and John Austin (1962) developed Speech Act Theory in the 1960s […]

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Appendix 4: Answers to Exercises

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Suggested answers Exercise 1 Any three of: no predetermined cognitive map collaboratively achieved managed on a turn-by-turn basis one-at-a-time talk highly coordinated Exercise 2 1 A  [TCU he shows his fist to you does he?] [TRP] 2 B  [TCU yeah] [TRP] [TCU he smoking all the time] [TRP] 3 A  [TCU he’s smoking all the time] [TRP] 4 B  [TCU yeah] [TRP] […]

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Appendix 3: Exercises

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Exercises and activities Exercise 1 List three characteristics of conversation. Exercise 2 Identify the turn-constructional units [TCU] and transition relevance places [TRP] in the following extract from a conversation between two people, A and B: 1 A    he shows his fist to you does he? 2 B    yeah (…) he smoking all the time 3 A    he’s […]

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CA in Action

ca101 CA in action

An example CA analysis We will now work through an example analysis of naturally occurring conversation. The aim is to demonstrate how to conduct CA analyses of conversation data by walking through the appropriate methodological steps which would be taken by any conversation analyst. We will break this down into seven steps, as follows. Transcribe […]

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Step 7: Generate Theory

ca101 step 7 Generate Theory

We have noted that conversation analysis is an inductive methodology that uses real world observations to make generalizations about some particular phenomenon. Indeed, a primary objective of inductive methodologies is the generation of theory through generalization. However, the scope of investigation will vary from study to study and not every CA analysis will be of such […]

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Step 6: Answer Questions

ca101 step 6 Answer Questions

Answer the research questions In the same way that the research questions originate from an examination of the conversational data (see Step 5: Ask Questions), so the evidence required to answer these questions must also be drawn from the same conversational data. This is an essential aspect of CA methodology. We will now consider in turn […]

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