Interactional Sociolinguistics
Cod: 53009
Department: DH
ECTS: 15
Scientific area: Portuguese Linguistics
Total working hours: 390
Total contact time: 60

The object of this seminar is the discursive strategies that participants develop in different communicative events. Based on the study of linguistic uses and verbal rituals present in the multiplicity of everyday discourses, this analytical perspective studies aspects related to the way interactants organize the conversational interaction: the specific conversational devices such as the turn-taking system, the discursive strategies that denote the participants' conversational involvement in the verbal interaction, the processes of meaning construction, the underlying foundations for the study of communicative interaction, the way in which the interpretative calculus of conversational implicit is constructed, the interactional positions that generate specific discursive identities such as those concerning the relations between language and gender, and language and the socioprofessional group of the interactants.

Verbal interaction, conversational involvement, contextualization cues

This seminar aims:

(i) to analyse linguistic data within the theoretical and methodological frame of Interactional Sociolinguistics;

(ii) to understand conversational rituals;

(iii) to interpret communicative events in different situations;

(iv) to explain the interpretative process of conversational implicit, having the interactional frames as reference;

(v) to understand the relations between discursive practices and variables such as gender, age and socio-professional group.

The development of metalinguistic competences of analysis of interactions will allow:

(i) the analysis of the management of discursive exchanges and of the construction of the interactional order;

(ii) the interpretation of discursive phenomena that denote “conversational involvement”;

(iii) the analysis of discursive sequences and of illocutionary values configured in them;

(iv) the analysis of the way discursive coherence in interactions is constructed.

1. Theoretical fundamentals of Interactional Sociolinguistics (IS).

1.1. Analysis of discursive practices in contexts of use: theoretical and methodological questions.

1.2. IS and the models of the Linguistics of Use.

1.3. The role of shared knowledge in the probabilistic calculation of conversational implicit.

1.4. Communicative events.

 2. “Conversational involvement” and discursive coherence.

2.1. Discursive phenomena that denote participants’ “conversational involvement” in the verbal game: discursive repetitions, hesitations, overlapping of turns.

2.2. The notion of discursive coherence.

2.3 The functioning of sequences of justification in context.

 3. Discourse strategies in diverse institutional frames.

3.1. Gumperz’s notion of discourse strategy and Goffman’s interactional frame.

3.2. The functioning of humour and the construction of “situated identities”.

3.3. Analysis of irony.

 4. Analysis of oral interactive narratives: constitution and delimitation of corpora.

Almeida, Carla Aurélia de (2019). Discourse strategies of mitigation in an oral corpus of narratives of life experience collected in interviews. In Roulston, Kathryn (Ed.), Interactional Studies of Qualitative Research Interviews (pp. 239-268). Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Almeida, Carla Aurélia de (2012). A Construção da Ordem Interaccional na Rádio: Contributos para uma análise linguística do discurso em interacções verbais. Porto: Afrontamento.

Gumperz, J. (1982). Discourse strategies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Gumperz, J. (1989). Engager la conversation: introduction à la sociolinguistique interactionnelle. Paris: Minuit.

Gumperz, J. (Ed.) (1996). Language and social identity. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Hayashi, M., Raymond, G., e Sidnell, J. (Eds.) (2013). Conversational repair and human understanding. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Schiffrin, Deborah (2006). In other words. Variation in reference and narrative. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Tannen, Deborah (2001). The relativity of linguistic strategies: rethinking power and solidarity in gender and dominance. In Wetherell, M., Taylor, S. e Yates, S. J. (Orgs.), Discourse Theory and Practice. A reader (pp. 150-166). London: Sage.


Assessment includes the accomplishment of assignments and regular and relevant participation in the various forums throughout the semester.

This seminar is organized in the modality of online virtual class, under an e-learning regime, with recourse to the Moodle platform and asynchronous forms of communication. Teaching methodologies are based on the development of students’ autonomous work, on collaborative learning via discussion in forum and on the elaboration of written work in each activity, following UAb’s Pedagogical Model.

The continuous assessment focuses on written work and on forum participation and has a 60% weight on the final classification; the final assessment considers an individual research work and has a 40% weight. Students accomplish five activities: in each of the first four, students develop independent reading of bibliography; they participate in a collaborative forum managed by the professor; and they write autonomous papers subordinated to analytic instructions. The fifth activity is dedicated to a written assignment dedicated to the analysis of a specific linguistic corpus.