Dialogue & interactional - Sample Essay

Dialogue as discourse is characterized by a fundamental structural principle: it is interactive and interactional. It is a mode of speech exchange among participants, speech in relation to another speech not merely the verbal expression of one character or actors’ part. In the study of dialogue as interaction, the dramatic text as written text, addresses a context of performance which requires a change in mode of discourse – the transformation and transmutation of the written lines into dynamics of speech, which involve more than recitation of the lines by the actors (Herman, 1995).

In the study of dramatic dialogue, understanding the workings of the dialogue as interaction and conversational speech versus dramatic speech are taken into account. It is also important to note that dramatic dialogue, taking part in the speech exchange system, must be safeguarded from conversation in order to preserve the formers’ ‘literary’ quality (Herman, 1995). In the construction of conversational practices and actions, participants use co-occurring structures and devices from different levels of linguistic organization as well as the employment of linguistic features in conversation.

In the linguistic analyses of dramatic dialogue, Gricean semantics and analyses on the linguistic features: turns, pauses or silences, adjacency pairs, chaining, and back channel support, will be employed. According to Gricean Semantics, in ordinary conversation exchanges, there is much more to the meaning of an utterance than what appears on the grammatical and logical surface: utterances often convey things other than what they literally mean and they often imply things other than what they strictly entail.

The adequate understanding of meaning requires the processing of what has been termed as ‘an invited inference’. Grice formulated the maxims as follows: ‘Make your contribution to the conversation as informative as possible, but not more informative or less informative that is required (Maxims of Quantity); ‘Do not say what you believe to be false’ and ‘Do not say that which for you lack adequate evidence (Maxims of Quality); ‘Avoid obscurity’, ‘Avoid ambiguity’, ‘Be brief’, Be orderly’ (Maxims of Manner), and ‘Be relevant’ (Maxims of Relevance).

According to Grice, all these different maxims are corollaries of the most fundamental principle of communication that governs all conversation. This is what he called as Cooperative Principle which read as follows: ‘Make your conversational contribution such as is required, at the stage at which it occurs by the accepted purpose or direction of the talk-exchange in which you all engaged. ’ (Medina, 2005). The central premise of the Gricean approach is that the communicative intention of a normal speaker under normal circumstances conforms to the cooperative principle and the conversational maxims that derive from it.

For Gricean semantics, the speakers’ conversational contributions are governed first and foremost by these general rules of cooperative communication, rather than by the semantic conventions that fix word-meanings and sentence-meanings. It is also important to note that intended meanings of speakers can depart sometimes even wildly like that of ironic utterances. Grice’s analyses of intended meanings put a lot of weight in the speaker’s communicative intentions undermining the traditional emphasis on linguistic conventions, which on his view become mere tools to be used and bent in all kinds of ways (Medina, 2005).

One of the linguistic features in conversation which tends to be modified in dramatic dialogue is the way turns are taken, the way people having a conversation organize who is going to speak next. Schegloff (1995) had the idea that syntax of spoken language in interaction should be looked upon as resource that is deployed and exploited for the organization of turns and sequence in conversation. Turn-taking is one important communication skill emerging during preverbal routines. It is a mechanism use to reorganize conversation so that interactants smoothly exchange speaking consequences.

Through turn-taking, participants coordinate their conversational contributions to each other. Turn-taking works as the onset of dialogue and is a prerequisite for latter emergence of communicative rule (Haslett and Samter, 1997). In general, for the construction of conversational practices and actions, participants use co-occurring structures and devices from different levels of linguistic organization, not only from prosodic, phonetic-phenological, but also form morpho-syntactic and lexico-semantic structures in turns-at-talk in their sequential context.

The possible types for turn constructional units (TCU), for English, are sentential, clausal, phrasal, and lexical. Syntactic units are important resources for the construction of TCU and turns. TCU is a linguistic unit in talk constructed in the interplay of syntax and prosody in its sequential context. For spoken language in interaction, syntactic entities like sentences are not to be conceived as static or fixed, but flexible.

That is why when talking about transmission relevance placed as the relevant loci for the negotiation of turn-taking; ends of sentences, clauses or phrases etc. are not talked about but the ‘possible completion points’ of sentences, clauses, phrases, and one-word construction. It is the flexibility of the possible syntactic unit that enables them to be used for the organization of turn-taking in conversation (Hakulinen and Selting, 2005).

In the construction of conversation, participants are not concerned with the construction of units as such, but the construction of units is contingent upon practices or activities such as holding, organizing, and yielding the turn. TCUs are not themselves relevant for participants, but for the practices and activities of turn-taking and activity constitution (Haslett and Samter, 1997). Dramatic speech is determined by set of conventions. Multiple patterns of delivery are adapted.

Repetition, superimposition, simultaneous speaking and alteration of speech between the actors are some of the devices employed. (http://books. google. com/books? id=zo 5os6d0rvMC&printsec=frontcover#PPA31,M1). The same devices could also be employed in dramatic dialogue. Pauses in speech can be very significant in the study. It can occur when one party stops speaking and no one else takes the next turn or at least not immediately, in the rhythm of interaction (Ten Have, 1999). In the linguistic analyses of dramatic dialogue, the identification where pauses are present is taken into account.