Whereas there are diverse definitions of conversational Analysis, there are certainly agreed-on tenets of the definition across the literature. Some of the primary ingredients of conversational Analysis examine the structures and foundations of conversational Analysis and note that norms, competencies, and practices are evidenced when a social interaction occurs. In essence, the underlying goal of social interaction is to maintain and foster bonds between others and ourselves. In applying conversational Analysis to the interview by the expert and the primary text, Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables, this Analysis notes that fiction, just like drama and real-life conversations. It is possible to analyze a Conversational Analysis by observing skills such as a turn-taking system that allows the Interviewer and the expert to converse and allows the speech and a narrative from a conversation to progress. Both in Anne’s work and the interview, the conversation is demonstrated to be advanced not only by speech but also by the action described in the narrative. In contextualizing conversational Analysis through the lens of Montgomery’s work, we can see through Anne a social life of a child turned inside out by her foster family. In both the interview excerpts and the primary text, we can see turn-taking, speech acts, politeness, amongst other key tenets of conversational Analysis.
One of the primary frameworks used to analyze Conversational Analysis is the electric method developed by Short (1995) and Toolan (1990). The two works primarily considered the turn-taking system in the adjacency pair mechanism instead of an isolationist model (Toolan, 1990). The four chapters of Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables can be used to consider whether the rules of Conversational Analysis can be used. At the onset of Chapters 2 and 3, the Child Anne is introduced with the later chapters, chapter 37, introducing Anne as a mature lady. The broad nature of the book makes it challenging to analyze the whole book, and as such, the study will use certain extracts from various chapters.
The beginning of chapter two of the book allows the reader to understand that Anne’s birth was rather unwelcome since the parents were desirous of a boy. Through Mathew’s and Marilla’s exchange, one can discern that the arrival of the girl, however, inspired Mathew when she appeared in their lives (7):
(7) Anne: “I suppose you are Mr. Matthew Cuthbert of Green Gables? I’m very glad to see you ….”
The conversation by Anne can be construed to be a long turn, which, as a fast pair, does not necessitate the second part since Anne knows who Mathew is. One can thus presume that Anne’s conversation was more of a proposition or statement and less of a question. Anne proceeds to describe and quote from her imaginative mind, which makes Mathew attracted to her. The subsequent conversation sees Mathew apologize to Anne for being late.
(8) Matthew: “I’m sorry I was late. Come along. The horse is over in the yard. Give me your bag.”
In comparing Mathew’s conversation to Anne, we realize that Mathew is polite and kind.
“(10) Anne: “Isn’t that beautiful? What did that tree … make you think of?”
(11) Matthew: “Well now, I dunno.”
(12) Anne:” Why a bride, of course- a bride all in white with a lovely misty veil … and what does make
the roads red?”
(13) Matthew:” Well now, I dunno.”
(14) Anne:” Well, that is one of the things to find out sometimes… isn’t it splendid to think of all the
things that are to find out about? ….There would be no scope for imagination then, would there? But
am I talking too much…? …. If you say so, I’ll stop. I can stop when I make up my mind to it, although
(15) Matthew:” Oh, you can talk as much as you like. I don’t mind.”
(16) Anne:” I’m so glad….And people laugh because I use big words. But if you have big ideas, you have to use big words to express them, haven’t you?”
(17) Matthew:” Well now, that seems reasonable.”
(18) Anne:” Mrs. Spencer said that my tongue must be hung in the middle …. Is there a brook any-
where near Green Gables?”
“(19) Matthew:” Well now, yes, there is one right below the house.”
KL: [that relates to religiously correcting or reshaping plagiocephaly, relating to positional plagiocephaly babies lie in particular positions, and so on, So that in
Sc: [I’m sorry]
KL [That is an introduction to what led me to contact my Iranian colleagues in Iran, who had some evidence, they had published some evidence in Farsi, I could see the images.
KL [And I got very intrigued, And so I wrote to them, and they promptly invited me to come to Iran, And that led to many other things, including the things that we’re going to talk about today, But as a sort of a framework, it started from a research on something else, other than what we could talk about today
SC hh. Right, I just want to go back to the malleability of an infant’s head (.) if it’s if it’s manipulated in some way, when does it actually take its shape?
KL In terms of the permanent modification of err that head form, the cranial form,
KL talk about using these these scientific terms
Based on the book and the interview, it is evident that there is an adjacency pair or a question/answer moment that dominates the respective conversations. The exchange between the respective persons indicates a mutual understanding between the parties conversing in a sort of giving and take (Short, 1996). Whereas Anne is given a chance for perhaps the first time to ask questions and speak freely, the interview presents an opportunity for the novice to speak to the expert. All the parties appear to enjoy the company of the other. In the interview, the interviewee appears to ask negative and positive questions while speaking freely and at times seeking clarification from the expert. The Interviewer’s questioning may be likened to Anne, who is engages Mathew in lengthy conversations while using long turns that end with questions.
The Interviewer and Ann further exhibit similarities in their conversation. One may further contend that the Interviewer may be likened to the Child. Anne’s inquisitory nature may be considered part of a child’s language development, while the interrogation by the Interviewer is a natural learning process (Short, 1996). Both Anne and the student are learners in their respective capacities and, as such, ask numerous questions throughout the book and the interview.
The applicability of Conversational Analysis in both the interview and Montgomery’s work demonstrates the occurrence of natural conversations in a fictional work and in a formal setting. One of the most dominant features in the works is turn-taking which has allowed the various actors to develop and maintain social interaction. Both Anne and the Interviewer are seen to proceed from the point of no knowledge to attaining knowledge through persons who are knowledgeable in their life or respective fields.
Short, M. (1996). Understanding Conversational Undercurrents in ‘The Ebony Tower’ by John Fowles. In Verdonk, P. and Weber, J. J. (Eds), Twentieth- Century Fiction from Text to Context. Lon-don: Routledge.
Toolan, M. J. (1990). The Stylistics of Fiction: A Literary- Linguistic Approach. London: Routledge.