ERIC Number: ED202200
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1978
Reference Count: N/A
Where Do We Go from Here?
Topic changes in conversation are governed by principles of discourse organization. These principles are highly specified and are identical to those responsible for the organization of memory structures. Of the three levels of organization: (1) universally controlled organization; (2) culturally controlled organization; and (3) idiosyncratic behavior--only the first is discussed. Memory structures are stored hierarchically and provide relational information about concepts and events. They guide discourse progression in one of two ways: either hierarchically, by focusing on the perspectives of a topic, or syntagmatically, by focusing on semantically parallel topics. For a given topic there are three types of perspectives, none of which is mutually exclusive: (1) object oriented, (2) theme oriented, and (3) emotion oriented. As long as the conversation proceeds along any of these perspectives, it focuses on the same topic. Because topics proceed along syntagmatically parallel paths, a change in topic is accomplished by choosing a syntagmatically parallel topics. Conversational data from Japanese, Kipsigis, and Swahili illustrate how memory structures operate to control conversation. Information about the background of the conversational participants and their language and culture is also needed to predict conversational direction. (JK)
Linguistic Research Inc., P.O. Box 5677, Station L, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T6C 4G1 ($10.00 for entire proceedings).
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Linguistic Research, Inc., Edmonton (Alberta).