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Journal of Pragmatics

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English language -- Spoken English, English language -- Discourse analysis, Conversation -- Analysis, Speech acts (Linguistics)


This paper investigates the actions and practices for connected discourse in English conversation. Three university students met weekly for 94 weeks to practice speaking and were video recorded. Each participant made a 10 min presentation about a topic of interest and then the three participants had a conversation. Using ethnomethodological conversation analysis (CA), we examined how participants moved from an orientation to one type of speech exchange system (the monologic presentation) to another (the ‘conversation’) and specifically, the actions and practices for getting the conversation started. We show how an orientation to an interview type of speech exchange system changes to something more conversation-like over the course of the 94 weeks and how changes in particular actions are concomitant with changes in turn allocation, turn construction, and turn taking practices. The findings provide further evidence for the co-constructed nature of language. Implications for understanding change or learning as a group enterprise are also considered.


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This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Journal of Pragmatics. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Journal of Pragmatics, 172, 89–104.



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