Conversation Analysis: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Conversation Analysis

1st Edition

By Numa Markee


232 pages

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Paperback: 9780805820003
pub: 2000-02-01
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Conversation analysis is a methodology that originated over three decades ago as a sociolinguistic approach but has since been adopted by scholars in a variety of other areas, including applied linguistics and communication. It is of great utility in second language acquisition research for its demonstrations of how micro-moments of socially distributed cognition instantiated in conversational behavior contribute to observable changes in the participants' states of knowing and using a new language. This volume describes the methodology in detail, discusses its relevance for current theories of SLA, and uses two extended examples of conversational analysis to show how learners succeed or fail at the job of learning the meaning of a word or phrase in conversational context.

This book is one of several in LEA's Second Language Acquisition Research Series dealing with specific data collection methods or instruments. Each of these monographs addresses the kinds of research questions for which the method/instrument is best suited, its underlying assumptions, a characterization of the method/instrument and extended description of its use and problems associated with its use. For more information about these volumes, please visit LEA's Web site at


"The book is written in a clear, interesting, yet challenging style….It would be of most use to the experienced teacher or upper-level research student interested in how conversation analysis can be used to analyze language learning in the classroom."


"…Conversation Analysis is a groundbreaking attempt. Markee has made the case that CA is capable of providing insights into language-learning processes. The inclusion of CA as an SLA methodology will no doubt broaden the horizon of language acquisition research….Markee has indeed made an important contribution to both CA and SLA."

Language in Society

"Markee's argument for including CA methodology in SLA research is persuasive."

Cambridge University Press

"Conversation Analysis has opened up a new frontier for both Conversation Analysis (CA) and second-language acquisition (SLA). It is a gutsy and timely book. As a first endeavor of its kind, it ventures to apply an increasingly popular discourse analytic methodology to a field whose research has traditionally been governed by experimental paradigms. It also strikes an impressive balance between theoretical considerations and empirical analyses. The book begins with purely theoretical discussions on the larger issues that govern the two fields, then moves on to incorporate empirical data in illustrating the possibility of connecting them. The theory-to-practice continuum is completed by applying CA to two SLA-related collections of data. In a remarkable way, the author manages to become fully engaged in micro-analytic procedures without for a moment losing sight of the larger pictures that motivated these procedures."

Language in Society

"…the book is well written and accomplishes its goal of illustrating how conversation analysis can be used as a methodological resource for SLA studies. This book is recommended for those interested in conducting research into how language is spoken and how learners learn from speaking language. It is especially useful for language teachers who want to explore issues related to teaching approaches that rely on small-group interaction."

Modern Language Journal

Table of Contents

Contents: Foreword. Part I: Issues and Definitions. Overview of SLA Studies. Conversation Analysis: A Resource for Reconceptualizing SLA Studies. Doing Conversation Analysis: Practical Issues in Recording, Transcribing, and Analyzing Data. Part II: Locating Interactional Competence. Sequential Organization in Different Speech Exchange Systems. Turn-Taking in Different Speech Exchange Systems. Repair in Different Speech Exchange Systems. Part III: Demonstrating Conversation Analysis. "Coral": A Case of Comprehended Input That Leads to Understanding and Learning. "We Cannot Get by Auschwitz": A Case of "Comprehended" Input That Does Not Lead to Understanding and Learning. Appendices: Transcription Conventions. "Coral" Collection. "We Cannot Get by Auschwitz" Collection.

About the Series

Second Language Acquisition Research Series

The Second Language Acquisition Research series presents and explores issues bearing directly on theory construction and/or research methods in the study of second language acquisition. Its titles (both authored and edited volumes) provide thorough and timely overviews of high-interest topics, and include key discussions of existing research findings and their implications. A special emphasis of the series is reflected in the monographs dealing with specific data collection methods or instruments.  Each of these monographs addresses the kinds of research questions for which the method/instrument is best suited, offers extended description of its use, and outlines the problems associated with its use. The volumes in this series will be invaluable to students and scholars alike, and perfect for use in courses on research methodology and in individual research.


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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
EDUCATION / Bilingual Education