Discourse and Pragmatics by uRI8MVw


									Discourse and Pragmatics

           Week 9
     Strategic Interaction
       Whos doing Whats
• When we use language we
  • Who we are and who we think the people
    we are communicating with are
  • What we think we are doing
    Interactional Sociolinguistics
• Whos doing Whats in Talk
• ‘Strategies’ of doing and being
• ‘Small stuff’ matters
• Even the smallest features of talk are
  functional and potentially meaningful
• Subtle variations in the way we talk can
  create big problems in communication
  and in relationships
           Whos and Whats
• Whos
  • Presentation of the Self
  • Conversational Style
  • Politeness
  • Whats
 • Framing and Contextualization Cues
  • Whos + Whats
 • Positioning
• Presentation of the Self
               Who are you?
• The is no fixed, essential ‘self’
• The idea of a consistent self is an illusion
• It is also a ‘necessary fiction’ for social
• It is better to talk of ‘selves’ rather than ‘self’
• We perform different ‘selves’ to different
  people in different situations
         What is the ‘self’
• Erving Goffman: sociologist
• The presentation of Self in Everyday
  Life (1959)
• Focus on ordinary social interaction
• ‘Dramaturgical’ Approach
• Life is like a play
                  The self
• Can be divided into:
    • performer
    • character
•   We are all actors
•   We are always performing
•   What is ‘true’ or ‘real’
•   Depends on how much we ‘believe’ in
    the character we are portraying
Sincere ------------------------Cynical
• We always have something to hide!
• Whether we are being ‘honest’ or ‘dishonest’,
  we must exercise similar ‘care’ in creating the
  ‘impression’ that we want to create
• Audience must believe the performance to be
  ‘real’ if it is to be effective
• Businessperson vs. con-man
• Lover vs. gigolo
        Interaction involves...

•   performers
•   audience
•   roles
•   The main risk in interaction is that your
    performance will be inadequate or
    ‘questioned’ by your audience
      Controlling Information
• Information that is
• Information that is
  ‘given off’
• Information
• Elements of performance:

      Audience segregation
• We use different fronts for different
  people in different situations
• We usually arrange our lives so that the
  people towards whom we play one part
  are different from those towards whom
  we play another part
• Difficulties of performing to ‘mixed
• Regions (frontstage and backstage)

• Conversational Styles
  • New Yorkers and Californians
  • The Silent Finn
      Example: ‘Valley girl talk’
• Habitual rising intonation
• ‘Like’
    • "I, like, didn't say anything."
•   Relationship to gender
•   Negative evaluations
•   Systematic variation
•   Uptalk: Given and new information
•   Like: discourse marker, marker of social
      Some Functions of ‘Like’
•   Inspecificity
    • She's like five foot five.
    • She's five foot five.
• Hyperbole
    • She's like ten feet tall.
    • She's ten feet tall.
• Quotation
    • She was like, I don't see why that's necessary.
    • * She was, I don't see why that's necessary.
 Example: ‘Language Crimes’
• Roger Shuy
• Forensic Linguistics
  •   Agent: You see these plans are very hard to get.
  •   Engineer: uh-huh
  •   A: I need to get them at night
  •   E: uh-huh
  •   A: It’s not done easily
  •   E: uh-huh
  •   A: understand?
  •   E: uh-huh
  •   +++++++
  •   A: How are you?
  •   E: uh-huh
• How we communicate our relationship
  with other people in our language
        Two kinds of face
• Negative face (desire for autonomy,
  personal space,freedom from
  imposition, freedom of action)
• Positive face (desire for self-image to
  be acknowledged and approved of)
• Each are addressed with specific forms
  of face work
Two Kinds of Face Strategies
 • Involvement
 • ‘Solidarity’

• Showing ‘closeness’ or solidarity
• using first name, expressing interest, claiming
  common point of view, using informal
     Involvement Strategies
• Use first name or nicknames
• Use informal language
• Use a ‘common language’
• Act interested, sympathetic
• Be direct
• Agree
• Claim common experiences, interests, group
• Talk about ‘us’
  Two Kinds of Face Strategy

• Independence

• Showing ‘respect’
• using titles, not making assumptions,
  apologizing, using formal language
      Independence Strategies
•   Use titles
•   Use formal language
•   Don’t make assumptions
•   Apologize
•   Be indirect
•   Try to minimize imposition
•   Hedge
•   Talk about things not having to do with us
        Independence and
• In any interaction we usually use both
  independence and involvement
• The problem is deciding how and when
  to use these strategies
• Based on
  • who we are talking to
  • why we are talking to them
    Deference Face System
• -P, +D
• symmetrical (equal)
• participants see themselves as at same
  social level
• distant
• both would use mostly independence
       Solidarity Face System
•   -P, -D
•   symmetrical
•   close
•   both participants likely to use more
    involvement strategies
   Hierarchical Face System
• +P, +/-D
• asymmetrical (unequal)
• asymmetrical face strategies
  • higher uses more involvement
  • lower uses more independence





But it’s really not that simple...
•   There is another factor
•   W
•   Weight of imposition
•   W+/ W-
     Conflicting Strategies/Mixed up
• Two businessmen meeting for the first time
• Mr R: (reading Mr. Wong’s business card
  which says Wong Hon Fai) Hi, Hon Fai. I’m
  Bill Richardson. My friends call me Bill.
• Mr W: How do you do Mr. Richardson.
• Mr. Wong thinks: That guy is acting too
  familiar, who does he think he is?
• expects deference system, hears hierarchical system
• Mr. R. thinks: This guy doesn’t want to be my
  friend. He’s not very nice.
• expects solidarity system, hears deference system

• The way we signal
• and interpret
• what’s going on
• what we are doing in
• Interpretative Frames
• Interactive Frames
        Interpretative Frames

•   Participants general expectations about
•   objects
•   people
•   settings
•   ways to interact
•   Restaurants, Classrooms, Karaoke
    Boxes, MTR, etc.
       Interpretive Frames
• Schema
• ‘World knowledge’
  • our knowledge of the physical and
    biological world, our agreement about what
    ‘reality’ is
• ‘Social knowledge’
  • our knowledge of social conventions
    around different kinds of activities
  An embarrassing situation...
• Getting a taxi in
        Interactive Frames
• ‘a definition of what is going on in
  interaction (or a any point in the
  interaction) without which no utterance
  (or movement or gesture) could be
  correctly interpreted.’
          • Tannen and Wallat
• Gregory Bateson
• Observations of monkeys at play
• ‘a monkey need to know whether a bite
  from another monkey is intended within
  the frame of play or the frame of
She knows...
      •   Play time
      •   walk time
      •   meal time
      •   quiet time
      •   trouble time
           Interactive Frames
•   Frames of activity within an interaction
•   We usually don’t just do one thing at once
•   There are
•   Overlapping frames
    • talking on the phone and playing with my dog
• Frames within frames
    • Lecture--activity--Lecture
    • Serious--joking--Serious
       What’s going on here?
• Doctor: (feeling child’s stomach) Okay, now let me
  see what I can find in there. Is there a peanut butter
  and jelly? Wait a minute...
• Child: No.
• Doctor: No peanut butter and jelly in there?
• Child: No.
• Doctor: Now move your legs up a little..Okay? Any
  peanut butter and jelly in there?
• Child: No.
• Doctor: No? Is your spleen palpable over there?
• Child: No.
How does she know?
         •   Gestures
         •   Movements
         •   Intonation
         •   Loudness
         •   Voice quality
    Contextualization Cues
• ‘Surface features of message form
  which are the means by which speakers
  signal and listeners interpret…
• what the activity is
• what words mean
• and how what they say is related to
  what has been said before or what will
  be said after.
         ‘Framing’ and
    ‘Contextualization Cues’
• John Gumperz
• Contextualization cues
  • any sign which serves to construct the contextual
    ground for situated interpretations, and thereby
    affects how constituent messages are understood.
  • Stress, intonation, voice quality (prosody)
  • Paralinguistic cues
  • Code choice
• ‘Nervous’
       Competing Frames
• Tutorial Task
        ‘Discourse markers’
• Focus: as far as ... is concerned, speaking of
• Clarification: I mean, actually
• Contrast: on the other hand, mind you,
• Dismissal of previous discourse: anyway,
• Change of subject: whatever, by the way, ok
• Consequence: so, then, as a result
• ‘Anyway’
              Tutorial Task
•   Listen for the tokens:
•   ‘umm’ or ‘eh’
•   ‘you know’
•   ‘ok’
•   What are the functions of these
    utterances in the conversation
• In interaction we negotiate who we are
  in relation to each other (face)
• We also negotiate what we are
  doing/what’s ‘going on’ (frames)
• But interactions do not happen in a
• Every interaction has histories (stories)
  behind it
• Tries to connect the individual interaction
  with the bigger picture
• Tries to show how we build up identities in
• Position
  • military language
  • marketing language
  • Putting yourself and people you talk to in
    some position in relation to other speakers
    and the groups that make up the culture
• ‘Karen, what do you think about
• Questioner/Answerer
• Teacher/Student
• Powerful/Less Powerful
• ‘Can I see your ID?’
• ‘May I help you?
• ‘Please iron my shirts.’
• Goffman
  • interaction is a performance
• Storylines are the plays that we perform
• Personal storylines
• Cultural storylines
  • Discourses
       Personal storylines
• What happened between us before the
• What we expect to happen between us
  after the interaction
• Who I am to you
• Who you are to me
         Cultural storylines
• Personal storylines are based on
  cultural storylines
• Without them, we would not know how
  to act or interpret how other people act
• Our cultures are made up of stories
• Speech Acts
• Every utterance has three kinds of
  • locutionary
     • the meaning of the words
  • illocutionay
     • the action of the words
  • perlocutionary
     • the effect of the words
                Kiss me!
• locutionary force
  • verb (imperative) + pronoun
• illocutionary foce
  • request?
  • order?
• perlocutionary force
   • ?
• Force depends on the positions of the people
  involved and the stories they are performing
                   Kiss me!
•   Boyfriend
•   Stranger
•   Boss
•   Personal storyline
    • new or old
    • just had a fight
• Cultural storyline
    • When does kissing usually happen in the
       Positioning Triad


Force of
Speech Act              Storyline
•   Self Positioning
•   Other Positioning
•   Challenging Positions
•   Changing Positions
•   Claims and impuitation of identity
•   Relationship to Framing
            Analyze the following
•   (Two strangers in a fitness centre)
•   A: Here, try like this. (Walks to the pull-down equipment, takes the
    handlebar in this hands and demonstrates the appropriate moves. B
    tries to imitate A but is not successful).
•   B: (Returns bar to A without saying a word)
•   A: You're afraid of the weights.
•   B: (Turns to A. Registers surprise on his face)
•   A: Think of a number between one and four and I'll tell you what you
    have to do.
•   B: What?! (Bewildered, surprise reflected in his tone of voice and facial
•   A: I'll give each of your exercises a number. One is the overhead pull-
    down. Two is the triceps pull-up. And so on. Just choose a number and
    I'll tell you what exercise to do and how much weight you need to put
    on the machine to do it.
•   B: No, I don't think so. (Walks off the weight room floor)

To top