The ethnography of speaking is concerned with describing ways of speaking, as they construct and reflect social life within particular speech communities. It is concerned further with developing cross-culturally valid concepts and theories for interpreting and explaining the interaction of language and social life. The object of study within this tradition is situated discourse: how speaking is organized and conceptualized within a given community. ‘Ethnography’ refers to fieldwork, supplemented by techniques developed in other areas of study (notably conversation analysis, history, and pragmatics), which produces a written description of the way of life of a group of people. Its focus is on the observed patterns of speaking, and the symbols and meanings, premises, and rules applied to speaking within a given community.
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