Friday, April 26, 2013
Friday, March 22, 2013
Sunday, February 17, 2013
2012-13 Lecture Series: Language, Cognition and Sociality
The Co-Operative Organization of Human Action
Applied Linguistics, University of California, Los Angeles
Comments from Mitchell Nathan, Department of Educational Psychology
4:00 pm, Thursday, April 11, 2013
254 Van Hise Hall, 1220 Linden Drive
Abstract: Human action is built by actively and simultaneously combining materials with intrinsically different properties into situated contextual configurations where they can mutually elaborate each other to create a whole that is both different from, and greater than, any of its constitutive parts. These resources include many different kinds of lexical and syntactic structures, prosody, gesture, embodied participation frameworks, sequential organization, and different kinds of materials in the environment, including tools created by others that structure local perception. The simultaneous use of different kinds of resources to build single actions has a number of consequences. First, different actors can contribute different kinds of materials that are implicated in the construction of a single action. For example embodied visual displays by hearers operate simultaneously on emerging talk by a speaker so that both the utterance and the turn have intrinsic organization that is both multi-party and multimodal. Someone with aphasia who is unable to produce lexical and syntactic structure can nonetheless contribute crucial prosodic and sequential materials to a local action, while appropriating the lexical contributions of others, and thus become a powerful speaker in conversation, despite catastrophically impoverished language. One effect of this simultaneous, distributed heterogenity is that frequently the organization of action cannot be easily equated with the activities of single individuals, such as the person speaking at the moment, or with phenomena within a single medium such as talk. Second, subsequent action is frequently built through systematic transformations of the different kinds of materials provided by a prior action. In this process some elements of the prior contextual configuration, such as the encompassing participation framework, may remain unchanged, while others undergo significant modification. A punctual perspective on action, in which separate actions discretely follow one another, thus becomes more complex when action is seen to emerge within an unfolding mosaic of disparate materials and time frames which make possible not only systematic change, but also more enduring frameworks that provide crucial continuity. Third, the distributed, compositional structure of action provides a framework for developing the skills of newcomers within structured collaborative action. Fourth, human tools differ from the tools of other animals in that, like actions in talk, they are built by combining unlike materials into a whole not found in any of the individual parts (for example using a stone, a piece of wood and leather thongs to make an ax). This same combinatorial heterogenity sits at the heart of human action in interaction, including language use. It creates within the unfolding organization of situated activity itself the distinctive forms of transformative collaborative action in the world, including socially organized perceptual and cognitive structures and the mutual alignment of bodies to each other, which constitutes us as humans.
This lecture is free and open to the public. Sponsored by the Language Institute, with funding from the Anonymous Fund. For more information or accommodations, contact: Dianna Murphy, (608) 262-1473.
I am a sociolinguist who is interested in multilingual practices, globalization, and identity. In my research projects, I have drawn on discourse analytic, ethnographic, and qualitative approaches to study various facets of the global spread of English, Swahili variation, and multilingual identities. Geographically, I have focused much of my research on East Africa, where I have studied language in the workplace, the intersection of popular culture and multilingualism, and HIV/AIDS education sponsored by non-governmental organizations. Much of this work is synthesized in my recent book, English as a Local Language: Post-colonial Identities and Multilingual Practices (Multilingual Matters, 2009).
On December 1, 2009, Language and HIV/AIDS (co-edited with Bonny Norton, Multilingual Matters) became available. This edited volume focuses on the social and discursive construction of local and global knowledge in educational efforts meant to prevent the spread of HIV.
My research in Tanzania also includes a recent study on the development of intercultural identities among expatriate transnational Swahili speakers. The study is featured in my most recent book, Identity Formation in Globalizing Contexts (Mouton de Gruyter, 2011). This edited volume addresses identity construction among multilinguals in the context of new millennium globalization and includes studies from Tanzania, France, Hong Kong, England, Canada, and the United States.
I have also been exploring the sociolinguistics of multilingualism and language awareness in Hawai'i through various collaborative projects, including a videoethnographic project with high school students on the Leeward Coast of O'ahu (Higgins et al, forthcoming). Be sure to check out the documentary on youtube Ha Kam Wi Tawk Pidgin Yet? that the students produced when asked to explain why Pidgin is still spoken in Hawai'i, despite all the negative attitudes towards the language. This project includes a website with a Teacher's Guide and language awareness materials on Hawai'i Creole for high school language arts and social studies classrooms. Also see Da Pidgin Toolkit, a short claymation film that teaches newcomers to Hawai'i essential Pidgin vocabulary (e.g., da kine, ono, choke) in a creative way. To explain more about the history and development of Pidgin, I produced Pidgin: How was . . . how stay at the Hawai'i Plantation Village Museum in Waipahu, on the island of O'ahu. This is a permanent exhibit that explains how Pidgin came about on plantations and that documents the importance of the language to Hawaii's past and present.
I teach graduate level courses in sociolinguistics, discourse analysis, English and globalization, intercultural communication, and qualitative research methodology.He
Saturday, February 18, 2012
Johannes Wagner is Professor in Communication Studies and Chairman of the Ph.D. School of the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Southern Denmark. Since 1997 Dr. Wagner has been the director of the International Graduate School in Language and Communication. His research focuses on issues of L2 conversation and learning. His most recent book is Johannes Wagner, 2004, eds: Second Language Conversations. London: Continuum. (with Rod Gardner).
Ongoing research projects include a corpus of interaction data in different languages. Development of electronic tools and corpora for CA research. In cooperation with Talkbank. Læring og Integration (Language Acquisition and Integration). Research projected sponsored by the Danish National Research Council for the Humanities. (With several cooperators)Dr. Wagner will be a plenary speaker at the 2012 Second Language Acquisition Graduate Student Symposium, this year on the theme "Language Choice and Choosing a Language". For more information on the symposium use this link:
Virginia Teas Gill is Professor of Sociology at Illinois State University. During the Fall 2011 semester she is on sabbatical at UW-Madison, where she is an Honorary Fellow in the Department of Sociology. A conversation analyst, Professor Gill studies interaction between physicians and patients. She has a particular interest in the interactional practices patients and physicians use to offer, press for, and resist interpretations of illness, as well as patients' requests for medical interventions. She is a former Co-Chair of the American Sociological Association (ASA) Section on Ethnomethodology and Conversation Analysis and is currently Finance Officer for the International Society for Conversation Analysis (ISCA). With Alison Pilnick and Jon Hindmarsh, she recently co-edited the volume, Communication in Healthcare Settings: Policy, Participation and New Technologies (Wiley-Blackwell, 2010).
Dr. Gill's faculty page at Illinois State University:
Felicia Roberts is Associate Professor of Communications at Purdue, where she is also a member of the Program in Linguistics. Dr. Roberts' primary interest is conversation analysis, understanding the coordinated verbal and nonverbal practices that construct everyday and institutional life. Her research crosses contexts from doctor-patient encounters to parent-child interaction, to veterinarians managing people and their pets. Ongoing interests in language attitudes, perception of non-standard speakers, language variation and change.
- Roberts, F. (in press). Qualitative approaches to clinician-patient communication In D.W. Kissane B.D. Bultz, Butow, P. & Finlay, I. (Eds.) Handbook of Oncology and Palliative Care. Oxford University Press.
- Roberts, F., Wilson, Delaney, J. & Rack, J. (2009). Interactional patterns as indicators of trait verbal aggressiveness. In D. Cahn (Ed.) Family Violence: Communication Processes, pp. 155-178. Albany, NY: SUNY Press.
- Roberts, F., Francis, A.L., Morgan, M. (2006). The interaction of inter-turn silence with prosodic cues in listener perceptions of "trouble" in conversation. Speech Communication, 48, 1079-1093.
- Balog, H. L. & Roberts, F. (2004). Perception of utterance relatedness during the first-word period. Journal of Child Language, 31, 837-854.
- Roberts, F. & Robinson, J.D. (2004). Inter-observer agreement on '"first-stage" conversation analytic transcriptions. Human Communication Research, 30, 376-410