Article published in:Spoken Interaction Studies in Australia
Edited by Rod Gardner
[Australian Review of Applied Linguistics. Series S 11] 1994
► pp. 47–82
Two complementary perspectives on the analysis of casual conversation in English
This paper argues that the linguistic analysis of gossip reveals not only a great deal about the social role and function of gossip in our society and is therefore important to social theory, but that an analysis of the language of gossip can provide insights into the analysis of casual conversation in English. This paper provides a generic analysis of gossip. The analysis demonstrates that gossip is a culturally determined process with a distinctive structure which can be described. It argues that, in order to describe gossip and other forms of casual conversation, two perspectives are needed: a synoptic approach which looks for complete, static, unified products or texts (generic approach) and a dynamic approach to conversational analysis which focuses on the processes by which moves succeed moves. The latter perspective then focuses on the dynamic unfolding of the interaction which occurs in a gossip text. It allows us to describe how the interactants in conversation can expand, in principle, indefinitely move by move.
Published online: 01 January 1994