Language and Social Interaction II

A dinosaur
LecturerEiko YASUI, Lecturer
DepartmentSchool of Letters / Graduate School of Letters, 2016 Spring
Recommended for:School of Letters, 2nd year students or above others, 3rd year students or above NUPACE students (2One session / week 15 weeks / semester)

Overall purpose

The purpose of the course is to help students understand the organization of human interaction and the relationship between language and society, as well as enhance a deeper insight into the human social lives. It also helps them acquire the basic skills to analyze human social actions in the actual interactional context from a micro perspective.

Description of the course

Various social activities that constitute our everyday lives, such as talking with friends, shopping at a store, ordering food at a restaurant, having a discussion at a meeting, etc., are accomplished through our interaction with others. In interaction, we employ language and body to "do things" - produce social actions, such as a question, greeting, request, offer, etc. - and collaboratively build actions in sequence, responding to each other's verbal and non-verbal behaviors.

This course aims at exploring the organization of social interaction from a micro perspective, introducing the findings from "conversation analysis (CA)," a micro-analytic approach to actual talk in everyday settings that examines how people accomplish things in the world. Students will theoretically understand and describe what people take for granted in their everyday lives since how they, as members of a society, behave with others in interaction shows what is taken as social norms.

By the end of the course, students are expected to:

  1. be able to describe how people do things with words and body
  2. be able to describe how people understand meanings in others' behaviors
  3. be able to describe different levels of interactional organizations
  4. understand the approach of CA and obtain its basic analytical skills
  5. be able to apply the findings from conversation analysis to the actual communicative contexts and acquire practical communicative skills
  6. correctly understand and summarize the literatures on human social interaction

Through this course, therefore, the students will gain a deeper analytical insight into human social lives.

Topics to be covered

  • The basics of interaction
  • Conversation analysis: basic concepts and approach
  • Basic organizations of conversation (turn-taking system, sequence organization, preference organization, repair, etc.)
  • interaction and grammar
  • interaction and body


Session Topics Assignments
1 Introduction
2 I. Communication as interaction
- Verbal and non-verbal behaviors as social actions
3 - Conversational actions Nofsinger: Ch2. "Conversational action,"
Schegloff: Ch.1 "Introduction to sequence organization,Capsule review 2: actions"
4 II. Organization of conversation
- Basic ideas and concepts in conversation analysis
Sidnell: Ch.1 "Talk"
5 - Turn-taking organization 1 Sidnell: Ch.3 "Turn-taking"
6 - Turn-taking organization 2
7 - Sequence organization: adjacency pairs Sidnell: Ch.4 "Action and understanding"
Schegloff: Ch.2 "The adjacency pair as the unit for sequence construction," Ch.3 "Minimal, two-turn adjacency pair sequences"
8 - Sequence organization: Turn expansions Sidnell: Ch.6 "Sequence"
9 - Preference organization Sidnell: Ch. 5 "Preference"
10 - Repair organization 1 Sidnell: Ch.7 "Repair"
11 - Repair organization 2
12 - Turn-construction Sidnell: Ch.8 "Turn-construction"
13 - Data transcription workshop
14 III. Summary
- Exam review, data analysis session, etc.
15 - Final exam


  1. Participation and attendance (+ reaction paper) 20%
  2. 2 assignments 40% (2 x 20%)
  3. Final exam 40%

Details will be provided in class.


  • Nofsinger, R.E. (1999). Everyday Conversation, Illinois: Waveland Press.
  • Schegloff, Emanuel A. (2007). Sequence Organization in Interaction: A Primer in Conversation Analysis, Volume 1, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Sidnell, Jack. (2010). Conversation Analysis: An Introduction, London: Wiley-Blackwell.

Suggested readings

  • Sacks, Harvey. (1995). Lectures on Conversation. Blackwell Publishing.
  • Sacks, Harvey, Schegloff, Emanuel A., & Jefferson, Gail (1974). A simplest systematics for the organization of turn-taking for conversation. Language, 50, 696-735.
  • Schegloff, Emanuel A., Jefferson, Gail, & Sacks, Harvey. (1977). The Preference for Self-Correction in the Organisation of Repair in Conversation. Language, 53, 361-382.
  • Sidnell, Jack & Tanya Stivers (2012) (Eds.). Handbook of Conversation Analysis. Boston: Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Ten Have, Paul (1999). Doing Conversation Analysis. A Practical Guide, Thousand Oaks: Sage.

Last updated

March 25, 2020