Art of Conversation
Last Updated: 11/14/2007
Faculty: Susan Fiksdal linguistics
Major areas of study include linguistics, discourse analysis, sociolinguistics and gender studies.
Class Standing: Sophomores or above; transfer students welcome.
Art of Conversation is designed to help you discover how conversation is organized and managed, how it constitutes power and resistance, how it varies, and how it helps to construct our social reality. Examining the ways gender, style, accent, and dialects impact conversation will be a major focus. You will gain an appreciation of the art and work involved in understanding and negotiating meaning in everyday conversation.
To do this, you will learn how to analyze the structure of language (phonemes, morphemes, syntax), the meaning (semantics & pragmatics), and the function (discourse). Applying sociolinguistic principles and discourse analysis heuristics, you will analyze various types of conversations–those between friends, interviews on radio or television, electronic discussions on the Internet, in film, and in seminars. You will learn several methodologies used to gather data in sociolinguistics: informal notation of speech acts, audiotaped surveys, and videotaped informal conversations. Because we are examining language in context, you will also learn methods to analyze nonverbal communication as well as the rhythmic organization of talk.
Credits: 16 per quarter
Program is preparatory for careers and future studies in linguistics, communication, literature, law and education.
Planning Units: Culture, Text and Language