Interaction and Grammar

Instructor(s): Elizabeth Couper-Kuhlen, Barbara Fox, Makoto Hayashi and Marja-Leena Sorjonen

One of the tenets of Conversation Analysis is that mundane talk-in-interaction is the primordial site of sociality, and thus of human language (Sacks, Schegloff and Jefferson 1974; Schegloff 1979, 1996). In this way, the home of language "in the world" is everyday talk. If this is the case, language ought to show various traces of this fundamental use; moreover, we might expect that different languages might afford different interactional possibilities by offering their speakers different morpho-syntactic resources for accomplishing talk.

In fact, research within the new subdiscipline of Interactional Linguistics in the last decade suggests that grammar is both shaped by and shapes use in everyday conversation. The proposed course examines research from a range of typologically, areally and genetically diverse languages (including English, Japanese, and Finnish), exploring the ways in which grammar shapes and is shaped by talk-in-interaction.

Prior or concurrent registration in an introductory course on Conversation Analysis is strongly recommended; at least one syntax course is required.