Discourse and Social Interaction


Course Objective

After completion of this course,
- you can describe the principles of inductive, data-driven research in
the field of discourse and social interaction;
- you are familiar with the basic concepts used to analyse discourse as
social interaction;
- you are able to apply the basic concepts used to analyse discourse as
social interaction in spoken and mediated/online settings;
- you are able to use the basic concepts to analyse a range of different
conversations and evaluate them in terms of progressivity;
- you are able to collect different kinds of data in an ethical manner.

Course Content

This course starts from the idea that spoken and written discourse can
be studied as social action: when interacting with each other via
different modes of communication, people manage to accomplish a variety
of actions, such as inviting or blaming, accounting or denying. This
course aims to develop your analytical skills to understand what it is
exactly that people do when they talk in person or over the phone, or
when they use chat or twitter. It also helps you to see how
interactional features such as a gap or silence or giving a summary of
what the other person has said or written, might have different
consequences in chat or face-to-face interaction. The focus across these
modes of communication will always be on examining how speakers
accomplish whatever it is they are doing and how this influences the
unfolding conversation in the immediate next turn.

The analytical skills are based on the concepts and principles used in
conversation analysis and reflect current research that has applied them
to different modes of communication. You will analyse instances of
informal talk as well as talk in institutional or organisational
settings. Examples that are drawn on for analysis might thus be derived
from various settings, including doctor patient interaction, news
interviews, political debates, business meetings and contain instances
of spoken interaction as well as mediated discourse and a range of
timely examples from social media. What they all share is that they can
be approached from an interactional point of view, as instances of
social interaction.

When you pass this course you are able to break down any conversation in
turns, ascribe social actions to these turns by asking and developing
claims on what would be an appropriate response to what the
conversational partner has done in the previous turn. This procedure
helps you to see how it is that evolving turns at talk drive
conversations. You will be able to use these analytical skills to
evaluate and offer advice on the options speakers have at different
moment in the interaction and how this has an influence on the course of
the conversation, whatever mode of communication they employ. You are
able to point out how what they do takes the conversation in different
directions and you may examine and discuss what the interactional
consequences are of these different possible directions, and which ones
are more appropriate or desirable in the given context.

Teaching Methods

Lecture, seminars and workshops, 6 hours per week in total.

Method of Assessment

Written exam and graded (seminars) and ungraded assignments (workshops).
You have to pass the written exam to pass this course. There are no
resits for the graded assignments.

Entry Requirements

The first-year course Discourse Analysis + workshop Transana on

Target Audience

Second-year students in the Bachelor's program in Communication and
Information Studies, specialisations and & Samenleving>

General Information

Course Code L_NCBACIW215
Credits 6 EC
Period P2
Course Level 300
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Humanities
Course Coordinator dr. J.M.W.J. Lamerichs
Examiner dr. J.M.W.J. Lamerichs
Teaching Staff dr. J.M.W.J. Lamerichs
mr. G.A.H. Jol MA

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Last-minute registration is available for this course.

Teaching Methods Lecture, Seminar*

*You cannot select a group yourself for this teaching method, you will be placed in a group.

Target audiences

This course is also available as: