Linguistics at Newcastle

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AAL 2017

CRiLLS supports postgraduate students to enable them to attend and present at international conferences. One of our students recently attended AAL 2017 in Oregon, USA. A report on her experience is below.

Upon been accepted by the AAAL 2017 as part of the colloquium ‘Expanding the scope of interactional competence research’, I joined the colloquium and made the trip to AAAL 2017. In regard to the background of the colloquium, recent work in Conversation Analysis (CA) has made numerous advances in Interactional Competence (IC) research particularly by providing theoretical and methodological ways to specify the process of how participants accomplish competence in situ (Hall & Pekarek Doehler, 2011) and how developmental changes are occasioned and tracked in situated contexts (Pekarek Doehler & Pochon Berger, 2015). Further expanding the scope of IC, this colloquium provides empirically grounded studies that bring new insights to fill the theoretical and conceptual gaps that remain in how CA approaches IC. The papers collected in this colloquium focus on settings such as book club sessions, student meetings, second language classrooms, peer-feedback sessions, and hotel check-in transactions, and explore the following areas:

1) Under-explored interactional resources or practices that could shed new light on IC.

2) The transportability of IC across contexts, and how to account for this.

3) How IC research deals with changes or development from “less” capable to “more” capable, and points of agreement or disagreement between approaches, including perspectives on how contextual variation matters.

4) The role of preference / implicature or categorization practices / description in IC, areas which have heretofore not been explored deeply.

Further, the study I presented as part of the colloquium, titled ‘Interactional Competence: What can we tell from collaborative speaker transitions in multiparty university student meetings?’ in fact forms a part of my PhD project within the framework of Ethnomethodological Conversation Analysis. It is a fine-detailed multimodal sequential analysis of the speakership transitions during multiparty university student meetings. The study demonstrates meeting participants’ competences to jointly accomplish the complex interactional projects of establishing and negotiating speakership, as well as displaying and mobilising recipiency. It contributes to the colloquium from a multimodal perspective and expands our knowledge on turn-taking and speaker transition practices in institutional interactions. The colloquium was a success, concluded by discussant, Prof. Simona Pekarek Doehler (Université de Neuchâtel <>), who points out future challenges and directions of research on interactional competence in the field of CA. Future work are being proposed and colloquium members are looking forward to work together on possible publication opportunities.

published on: 12 April 2017