First Observations

To begin this project, I will do a simple writeup of my various observations at different points during the conference. These will be supplemented by videos of the talks as soon as they are available.

I will use Dell Hymes’ SPEAKING model to help me to structure my obversations. This definition is taken from Wikipedia:

Setting and Scene

“Setting refers to the time and place of a speech act and, in general, to the physical circumstances”.[13] The living room in the grandparents’ home might be a setting for a family story. Scene is the “psychological setting” or “cultural definition” of a setting, including characteristics such as range of formality and sense of play or seriousness.[14] The family story may be told at a reunion celebrating the grandparents’ anniversary. At times, the family would be festive and playful; at other times, serious and commemorative.

Participants

Speaker and audience. Linguists will make distinctions within these categories; for example, the audience can be distinguished as addressees and other hearers.[15] At the family reunion, an aunt might tell a story to the young female relatives, but males, although not addressed, might also hear the narrative.

Ends

Purposes, goals, and outcomes.[16] The aunt may tell a story about the grandmother to entertain the audience, teach the young women, and honor the grandmother.

Act Sequence

Form and order of the event. The aunt’s story might begin as a response to a toast to the grandmother. The story’s plot and development would have a sequence structured by the aunt. Possibly there would be a collaborative interruption during the telling. Finally, the group might applaud the tale and move onto another subject or activity.

Key

Clues that establish the “tone, manner, or spirit” of the speech act.[17] The aunt might imitate the grandmother’s voice and gestures in a playful way, or she might address the group in a serious voice emphasizing the sincerity and respect of the praise the story expresses.

Instrumentalities

Forms and styles of speech.[18] The aunt might speak in a casual register with many dialect features or might use a more formal register and careful grammatically “standard” forms.

Norms

Social rules governing the event and the participants’ actions and reaction. In a playful story by the aunt, the norms might allow many audience interruptions and collaboration, or possibly those interruptions might be limited to participation by older females. A serious, formal story by the aunt might call for attention to her and no interruptions as norms.

Genre

The kind of speech act or event; for the example used here, the kind of story. The aunt might tell a character anecdote about the grandmother for entertainment, or an exemplum as moral instruction. Different disciplines develop terms for kinds of speech acts, and speech communities sometimes have their own terms for types.[19]

The programme and abstracts of the talks can be seen here:

PDE-Sep-2014-Schedule

SussexPDE2014Abstracts

The list of participants can be seen here:

Participants

Once I have written some of my observations, I will be taking some of my observations and writing them up into reflections of my own.

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