Approach to transcription through pragmatics (Chapter 6)



Pragmatics is how language is used to mean certain things in everyday occurrences.  It is is a subfield of linguistics and semiotics that studies the ways in which context contributes to meaning.  For example, someone can say, “do you have a restroom?” wherein the meaning is implied that the person asking needs to use the restroom without directly stating so.

For my transcription, I chose to analyze the speech through this system.  This was a conversation between me and a couple friends.  There are a lot of instances where there is use of speech that pertains to a certain demographic such as saying “like” over and over again to show comparison or to pass time as they think of a correct comparison.  An example is when one of my friends says, “…literally every little, every little like…like first…”  The use of this is a way of facilitating discussion and allowing others to speak if they can interject with their own thought, like Cameron and Holmes suggest.

Pragmatic speech is a way for one to have others understand what they mean without actually stating what they mean; they use context to show train of thought.

4 thoughts on “Approach to transcription through pragmatics (Chapter 6)

  1. Nice. I am interested more in how these “filler” words are chosen by the speaker and used to convey meaning contextually.

  2. First off, you are so smart to have posted your 2 minute transcription. I don’t know why I didn’t think about doing that.

    Second off, I love that you explore other examples of what pragmatics are and how it relates to your speech. Great use of examples.

    “Like” is something we use wayyy too often, especially in Southern California. Our “like” is like the Chinese version of saying “hello”. If you say it with a different tone, it can mean 10 different things. It’s also interesting that you pointed out that we use “like” to hint at someone to help us out in the conversation.

    Made me think about how many times I say “like” and what each one means!

  3. I did my post on turn-taking. However, I hadn’t considered “likes” in speech to be an opportunity for turn-taking, as you suggest here. I always thought they were an indication that the person still needs to think of something to say. Here is an example of how pragmatics and conversational analysis can overlap. As you continued transcribing, did you find that the majority of “likes” got interrupted?

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