Conversation Analysis

3. Basic Principles of CA


CA investigates interaction by examining the practices that participants use to construct it.

A 'practice' is any feature of the design of a turn in a sequence that (i) has a distinctive character, (ii) has specific locations within a turn or sequence, and (iii) is distinctive in its consequences for the nature or the meaning of the action that the turn implements.

Example 2

Here are three examples of conversational practices:

(a) Turn-initial address terms designed to select a specific next speaker to respond: (Lerner, 2003)

A: Gene, do you want another piece of cake?
(b) Elements of question design that convey an expectation favoring a 'yes' or a 'no' answer: in this case the word 'any' conveys an expectation tilted towards a 'no.' (Heritage et al., 2007

Doc: Do you have any other questions?

(c) Oh-prefaced responses to questions primarily conveying that the question was inapposite or out of place: (Heritage, 1998)

Ann: How are you feeling Joyce.=
Joy: Oh fi:ne.
Ann: 'Cause- I think Doreen mentioned that you weren't so well?
Lerner G. (2003). Selecting next speaker: The context sensitive operation of a context-free organization. Language in Society 32: 177-201.
Heritage J. (1998). Oh-prefaced responses to inquiry. Language in society 27(3): 291-334.