analysing talk
and text
a course for the Universitat Autònoma
de Barcelona
Charles Antaki
Loughborough University
lectures   1     2     3     4     5     6     7     8     9     10     11     12  

Home page: What these lectures are about

This course is designed for a group of advanced students at the Universitat Autonòma de Barcelona. The basic idea of the lectures is to give you a grounding in the way that social scientists analyse talk (and, to a lesser extent, text). The centre of gravity of the lectures will be Conversation Analysis (CA), that is, the close inspection of language in interaction, but I shall also talk about Discourse Analysis (DA), especially where it is in illuminating dispute with CA.

CA and DA are both influential ways of thinking about how people do things in the world, and both take as their starting point the idea that these things are done in talk. So all the lectures are about language as it is actually used. We'll look at interactions between ordinary friends, emergency call-takers and callers, insurance salesmen and clients, and many others. I'll try to persuade you that they achieve their ends through talk, and try to explain exactly how.

The lectures and seminars will be in English, though I hope that at some point we shall analyse some Spanish or Catalan data (see Are we going to work with Spanish or Catalan data? below).

Please also see the 'lecture outlines' link in the top banner, which give you a list of the lectures. Below is some general information, in 'frequently - asked - questions' style.

Some questions you may have at this point

What's on the on-line lecture notes?

I've written a set of notes for each lecture, and put them on-line. You can access them via the links that run along the banner (above). They are there to give you a sense of what each lecture is about, and to save you some of the tedium of making extensive notes during the class itself.

Do I need to know any linguistics?

No. I've tried to design these lectures for a confident and knowledgeable student who has some very general familiarity with the idea that language is not just words in a dictionary, or rules of grammar. I'm not assuming you have any specialised knowledge of language in interaction, so I'll introduce the course with two lectures on pragmatics.

Do I need to know any sociology?

No - I'm not assuming any knowledge of sociology (or social psychology, ethnography or anthropology). Since the basic idea of the course is that language does things - that it produces social actions - then of necessity we shall be talking about the sort of sociological (social psychological etc) things it does. But I'll make no reference to any particular sociological theory.

Is it going to very technical?

No - or, at worst, only at some points! Most of the material will be in ordinary language, but I'll also be trying to persuade you why some specialised vocabulary helps analysis to become sharper. But I certainly won't expect you to learn a whole dictionary's-worth of new terms.

Will there be any 'hands-on' work?

Yes - we'll probably do a fair amount of looking at data-extracts in the seminars, and in the middle of the course there is a very close look at one piece of video. Later I'll be giving out a copy of that on CD so that people can work on it at their own pace.

How much reading will there be?

There's no one course textbook, but I'm going to rely on a number of sources (see 'Readings' link above). I very much hope that you will read the appropriate bits of each.

Are we going to work with Spanish or Catalan data?

All of the data I shall bring will be in English, but I hope that at some point we'll look at some Spanish or Catalan data too. For some seminars I'll be asking people to bring in short stretches of transcribed talk, and of course that can be in Spanish or Catalan. I'm afraid, though, that I can't speak Spanish very well, and Catalan not at all, so for my sake I hope a translation will be possible. Translation issues themselves will be an interesting point for discussion.

Can you be contacted?

Sure - happy to hear from you at any time. Probably the surest way is via my Loughborough email, which I will be using in Barcelona too. It is always available as a link in the top right of the banner on each Lecture page. If you would like to make a note of it separately, it is

 What do we call you (and who are you, anyway)?

'Charles' is fine with me, unless you prefer something more formal. I'm a visiting lecturer from Loughborough University in England, and if you click here, or on my name in the link at the top of the left-hand column of this page, you'll get to my home page.

All the material on these pages is © Charles Antaki.