Conversation theory

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Who developed 'accommodation theory'?
Howard Giles in the 1970's
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What is convergence?
moving our speech closer to that of the other speaker (common)
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What is divergence?
when people's speech styles move further apart (less common)
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What are the effects of convergence?
It decreases the social distance between people and makes them more comfortable
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What is downward and upward convergence?
Downward: Upper class people putting less emphasis on their accent so as not to alienate the working class / Upward: people with regional accents becoming more upper class so as to appear more professional
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What happens if both speakers converge towards each other?
mutual convergence
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Who did research into convergence?
Coupland (1984) studied a travel agent who adjusted her pronunciation to mirror her clients.
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In what circumstances can divergence occur?
When two people wish to exaggerate their differences, for example in an argument or at a football match
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What is Audience design theory?
it suggests that the primary influence on language is audience
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Who developed the co-operative principle?
H.P Grice (1975)
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What are the main ideas of the co-operative principle?
That speakers share common goals and standards, which they achieve through their co-operative communication.
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In brief, what are Grice's four maxims?
Quantity, Quality, Relevance, Manner
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What is Quality?
Being as honest and as truthful as possible, only giving evidence which can be backed up.
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What is Quantity?
Saying no more or less than is required, for example if someone asks 'how are you?' the answer 'fine' is much too short, and a complete rundown of your life would be too long.
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What is Relevance?
Only volunteering information relevant to the conversation, rather than continually going back to one point of conversation, or voicing a non-sequitur (illogical statement)
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What is Manner?
Avoiding ambiguity, obscurity or gratuitous wordiness- all of which can seem rude and impede conversation
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What is 'flouting the maxims'?
When one or more of the four maxims are not adhered to.
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What is implicature?
When a maxim seems to have been flouted, but actually they did not. For example if someone is walking to the post office and told 'it's Sunday'. This may seem irrelevant but in fact the speaker is implying that the post office is closed on Sundays.
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What are the consequences of flouting maxims?
The conversation will break down, and the speaker may be viewed in a negative way (waffler, liar etc)
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Who developed 'face theory'?
Irving Goffman (1955)
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What is the basic theory of face theory?
That speakers will put on a 'face' when speaking to others
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What is a face-threatening act?
When someone's linguistic face is challenged, for example accusing someone of insincerity or them pretending to be more knowledgeable that they are.
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Why do most people not face-threaten others?
Because they know that by calling someone out on their insincerity they are more vulnerable to them unveiling our 'face'.
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What is face work?
The behavior involved in presenting, protecting and keeping up our linguistic 'face'.
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Give some examples of politeness
Using appropriate address, speaking with a degree of formality, understanding the social conventions (Eg greetings), understanding the conventions of turn-taking.
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Which pair of academics built on the work of Goffman?
Brown and Levinson (1987)
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What is positive politeness?
When we are polite to people we like and admire by paying them compliments or attempting to reduce the social gap.
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What is negative politeness?
When we avoid imposing on other people and pay them respect, for example saying 'excuse me' and calling someone 'sir'.
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How does negative and positive politeness relate to culture?
Brown and Levinson suggested that certain cultures put more emphasis on different type of politeness, for example the British and often OAP's put more emphasis on negative politeness.
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Who developed the politeness principle?
Robin Lakoff (1973)
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What are the three maxims of politeness principle?
Not imposing, Giving options, Making people feel good
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Give an example of Not imposing
'sorry to bother you'
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Give an example of Giving options
'it's up to you'
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Give an example of making people feel good
'you're a star'
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What can be a problem with these maxims?
The lines can often become blurred, for example 'you're a star' could be sarcastic.
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THE END! congratulations! now look for notes on language between genders
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Other cards in this set

Card 2


What is convergence?


moving our speech closer to that of the other speaker (common)

Card 3


What is divergence?


Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4


What are the effects of convergence?


Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5


What is downward and upward convergence?


Preview of the front of card 5
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