The book explores ways in which the formal methods of linguistics can cast light on the structure of verbal interaction, and in particular considers how successive utterances cohere together in continuous spoken discourse. Beginning with an earlier model of discourse analysis elaborated to deal with teacher-pupil interaction in the classroom, it then reviews attempts to extend this model to a variety of discourses such as committee talk, doctor-patient interviews, broadcast discussions and the monologue of lectures.
The extension of the original model to other situations has prompted a number of innovations and additional insights which are expounded in a series of contributions linked by complimentary themes. There are contributions on the role of intonation and of kinetics in discourse analysis; explorations of the problems of the analytic category ‘sentence’ and of the problems raised by casual conversation; and there is extended discussion of the structural properties underlying exchanges of utterances.
The book moves easily between data and theory, forming a unified whole. It sums up a continuing and lively debate within a common tradition of discourse analysis and may well serve as a programmatic statement for future work in the field.
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