Discourse Analysis

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Interactional sociolinguistics is a qualitative, interpretative approach to theanalysis of social interaction that developed at the intersection of linguistics,anthropology and sociology. It emerged primarily out of the work of anthropologicallinguist John J. Gumperz, who, in his field research in the tradition of the ethnography of communication in the 1960s and 1970s, observed immense linguistic and culturaldiversity in everyday talk, and sought to devise a method for analyzing and understandingthis diversity, and for testing hypotheses gained from doing ethnography through the collection and analysis of actual texts. Its development was also motivated by Gumperz‟ sinterest in investigating intercultural encounters characteristic of many modern urbanareas, as well as by his concern for social justice As an „approach to discourse‟ (Schiffrin 1994), interactional sociolinguistics (IS) offers theories and methods that enable researchers to explore not only how languageworks but also to gain insights into the social processes through which individuals buildand maintain relationships, exercise power, project and negotiate identities, and createcommunities. IS methodology involves an ethnographic component (observations of speakers in naturally-occurring contexts and participant-observation), audio- and/orvideo-recording of interactions, detailed linguistic transcription of recordedconversations, careful micro-analysis of conversational features in the context of th nformation gained through ethnography, and sometimes, post-recording interviews. Thekey theoretical contributions of IS are to explain how speakers use signallingmechanisms, or „contextualization cues‟ (Gumperz, 1978, 1982a, 1982b, 1992a, 1992b,1999b, 2001), often prosodic (like intonation, stress, pitch register) or paralinguistic (liketempo, pausing, hesitation) in nature, to indicate how they

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