Art of Conversation

Fall, 2008

Amazing program and terrific students!

Program Description:

Art of Conversation was a full-time program designed to analyze the way conversation works: how it is organized, how it constructs our social world, and why we have miscommunication.  It introduced students to linguistic analysis within sentences and to discourse analysis of conversation through textbooks, journal articles, and a weekly series of projects. These projects included self reflection, informal observation, a survey, narratives, open-ended interviews, and videotaping conversation among friends. Two broad themes were intercultural and gender differences in the ways speakers construct identity, draw on power and solidarity, maintain face, and construct a style.  Learning objectives of this program included the following: demonstrate an understanding of linguistic forms and discourse functions; learn the concepts introduced in three linguistic fields—theoretical linguistics, gender and language, and discourse analysis—and illustrate competence in them through weekly linguistic analysis exercises, synthesis essays, a final research project, and a final exam; indicate competence in microanalysis and transcription through workshops and project assignments; learn advantages and disadvantages of research methodologies in discourse analysis; demonstrate improved writing skills and develop good time management skills. Students also learned database research techniques and computer technology skills for presenting audio and videotaped data. Texts included Johnstone’s Discourse Analysis; Kiesling & Paulston’s Intercultural Discourse & Communication; Fromkin, Rodman, & Hyam’s An Introduction to Language; Hall & Bucholtz, Gender Articulated; Shawn & Gregory’s My Dinner with André as well as selected journal articles.

Equivalencies: 16

4 – Discourse Analysis of Conversation

4 – Gendered Discourse

4 – Introduction to Linguistic Analysis 

2 – Linguistic Research Design

2 – Intercultural Communication