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  • The aim of this assignment is to check that you are confident with basic CA terminology and that you are able to clearly explain CA terms through analysis of data. In preparation for this assignment, you should read the seminal article by Sacks, Schegloff

The aim of this assignment is to check that you are confident with basic CA terminology and that you are able to clearly explain CA terms through analysis of data. In preparation for this assignment, you should read the seminal article by Sacks, Schegloff Essay Example


Student Name

March 30, 2011


Unit, Semester, Class

Turn Construction Units (TCUs)

This is a fundamental part of speech which is entailed in a conversation and analyzed in a conversation analysis. According to the journalThe construction of units in conversational talk,p.1”, the idea of Turn Construction Unit, it was meant to analyze piece of conversation which constituted of an entire turn. Turn Construction Unit is defined as the smallest linguistic unit that is internationally relevant in any given context constructed with prosodic and syntactic resources in their pragmatic, semantic, activity-type-specific and context of conversational sequence. TCU usually ends with a TRP unless there is interactional resources and particular linguistic which are used to project the TRP or push it to end of larger multi-unit turn.

Transition Relevance Places (TRPs)

On another case, some of the footnotes in (Schegloff , P.132) demonstrate that both Schegloff and Goodwill do not at all times follow the criteria and division of talk in to TCUs. There seem to have dissimilar notion on what is a TCU. There is need to clarify the notion of the TCU in relation to other units of talk. In distinguishing between those TCUs that end with a TRP and those that do not, there is need to clarify the relationship between the different kinds of units and the conditions that differs when a TCU end or does not end with a TRP. According to Jefferson there are several ways in which a TRP can be typically accomplished i.e. a speaker can either verbally or non-verbally send a transition to the next speaker either prior the TRP. Where this choice is not available the TRP becomes a choice for any listener to engage through self-selection. The problem here arises when there is a speaker who is a quick starter and another one who is a slow starter. If there are no self-selections and pre-selection the speaker is obliged to continue.
There are a lot of uncertainty regarding a TCU and how it can be recognized in a transcript of a conversational talk. Many researchers have demonstrated a lot of hesitation when talking about the units of conversations and their levels.  When analyzing and devising the system of transcription GAT (Schegloff, p.131), they have necessitated introducing a notion of phrasing the unit in order to capture the unit of production as transcribed from a conversational talk.

TRPs are socially constructed naturally occurring events and they mark transition from one speaker to another. This is the moment in a conversation whereby there is possibility of transition from one speaker to another. The TPR’s were utilized as a potential end of turn they were seen to be operating in every conversation and were used as potential end of turns by participants. They prevented chaos.

Two examples of TCUs

A confident method of TCU

A good example of a confident method of TCU is a single clause turn as demonstrated by (Sacks et al, n.12)

A: Uh you been down here before havencha

A: Where the sidewalk is?

B: Yeah”

The gap between the successive turn demonstrates no problem of interaction, which is commonly known as Bea failure to recognizing the named person in the preceding turn and poor degree of reception. The way the preceding speaker initiates a turn in the conversation.

A less confident method of TCU

In references to Sacks et al. 1974: p.707

Mike: I know who the guy is

Vic: He’s ba::d

James: you know the guy?”

The procedures of turn allocation procedures for conversation are disseminated into two sets. The ones that are selected by the preceding speaker and the following speaker self-selects by the following speaker.

Adjacency Pairs

This is a unit of conversation containing two speakers engaging in exchange of one turn each. These turns are functionally related in such a way that one turn requires a specific type and a range of types of the second turn.

Adjacency pair can also be used to refer to “conversational sequences.” in conversational sequence, a speaker’s utterance depends on another speaker’s utterance. This is a sequence two different speakers making of two related utterances where by the later is always a response to the later. It can be referred to as a “tied pair” or as “illocutionary force”. Such pairs of utterances are in most cases mutually dependent i.e. a question predicts an answer on the other hand predicts a question. It is easy to state the requirements of a normal conversational sequence in terms of the expected response and the presuppositions of conversational analysis. There is a relation between the act and the patterns of the conversation in pairs which are known as adjacency pairs.

Examples of adjacency pairs

A major mechanism in the convert organization of the conversation specific turns have specific following turns which are associated with them. I.e. questions take answers, invitations and returned by acceptance; greetings by greeting such sequence of turn go in tandem. One useful mechanism in the convert organization of conversation is that certain turns have specific follow up turns associated with them (Schegloff, p.1090). Questions take answers. Greetings are returned by greetings. Invitations by acceptance; or refusals etc: certain sequences of turns go together. Such as question-answer, greeting-greeting etc.

Question and answers:
Some of the examples of adjacency are:

B: Hey did you watch the Lost.

S: Yes I just finished at about ten minutes ago.”
(Jefferson, p.19).

Summons-acknowledgment. “Jim. Like yesterday there was a track meet at palisades. Rees was there. Isn’t that a reform school? Rees?
Roger. Yeah”

(Jefferson, p.19).

Three characteristics associated to adjacency:
Complaint-apology, blame-denial, Greeting-greeting, Etc.
Some other examples that demonstrate adjacency pairs are:

They contain two parts that are contagious and which are uttered by different individuals. There is a speaker who makes a statement prior to answering it which makes it sound strange since adjacency pairs are non-consecutive.

Example of a totally confident adjacency pairs

Using example of a totally confident adjacency from (Goffman p.152) to demonstrate how participants easily orientate themselves to this normative construction in efficient ways.

A: Have you got coffee to go?

B: Milk and sugar?

A: Just milk.”

The following parts must be appropriately matched this avoids add exchanges it is also referred to as sequential organization
The two parts of an adjacency pairs are ordered. The question always come before an answer in a conversation, one cannot start with accepting an invitation before it is accepted.

Example of a less confident adjacency pairs

An example of a less confident adjacency is a TV commercial where the interviewer eavesdrop an close conversation that take place between a man and a woman while enjoying dinner in a restaurant. The act of a woman leaning on a man and saying “l love you” and upon waiting for a responses there is a prolonged period of silence which is increasingly uncomfortable. There is no either positive or negative affirmation of love from him. And any response comes after a forced gesture from the first speaker


Goffman, E. Behavior in public places. New York: Free Press. 1963

Jefferson, G. On ‘trouble-premonitory’ response to inquiry. Sociological Inquiry 50: 153-185. New York: Academic Press. 1980

Maynard, D. Inside plea bargaining. New York: Plenum Press. 1984

Schegloff, E.A. Sequencing in Conversational Openings. American Anthropologist 70: 1075-1095. University of California: Berkeley 1968.

Sacks, H. Everyone has to lie. In B. Blount and M. Sanches (Eds.), Socio-cultural dimensions of language use. New York: Academic Press.1975