Course on Language and action understanding

  • Giovanni Rossi (Teacher)

Activity: Other activity typesOther


Drawing on research in the fields of linguistics and conversation analysis, the module covers key topics in the study of how people produce and understand social action, that is, how they use the resources of language, body and context to construct actions such as questions, answers, requests, offers, assessments, complaints, that are in turn recognised as such by others. In surveying the resources at play in this process, the module pays special attention to prosody, generally understood as the acoustic-auditory non-lexical features of speech. The relation between language and action in everyday interaction is approached as part of the larger matter of mutual understanding and social coordination among people. Students are introduced to a variety of approaches to linguistic function and action, including speech act theory, pragmatics, interactional sociology, and conversation analysis, and are exposed to both qualitative and quantitative research in these fields. The objectives of the module are for students to: learn to think and work empirically on the basis of naturally occurring interaction; develop basic skills in the technical analysis of conversation and apply their understanding of linguistic structures to it; learn to recognise complex patterns of language use and to establish mappings between forms and functions, with particular reference to prosody. Activities include also the critical reading of relevant literature, discussion, and exercise of presentation skills
Period16 Jan 201710 Mar 2017
Degree of RecognitionLocal