Conversation

Authored by: Hansun Zhang Waring

The Routledge Handbook of Pragmatics

Print publication date:  January  2017
Online publication date:  January  2017

Print ISBN: 9780415531412
eBook ISBN: 9781315668925
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315668925-27

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Abstract

In the beginning, there were speech acts. As Kasper (2006: 281) observes, ‘it is beyond dispute that speech acts have a central place in the field’ of pragmatics. Conversation, on the other hand, is a relative newcomer on the stage of pragmatics, and its rise is often considered a reaction to or entwined with certain discontent with speech act theory and research (Schegloff 1988). The official status of conversation as an integral part of pragmatics has been engrained in such foundational volumes as Levinson (1983) and Yule (1996), where the study of conversation is first and foremost linked to the theory and method of conversation analysis (CA). To date, CA studies of naturally occurring conversation have become a staple at the international pragmatics conferences hosted by the International Pragmatics Association (IPrA), as well as in journals such as Pragmatics and Journal of Pragmatics. Conversation is clearly here to stay. The purpose of this chapter is to charter its journey into the field of pragmatics, offer a snapshot of our current understandings of conversation, identify critical issues and topics, and discuss future directions.

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