From: Anne de la Croix <a.delacroixerasmusmc.nl>
Subject: Transcribing Group Interactions
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Query for this summary posted in LINGUIST Issue:
First of all I would like to thank the people who responded to my query:
Susanne Gundermann, Sigal Uziel-Karl, Sukriye Ruhi, Lisa Galvin,
Bruce Anderson, and José I. Aguilar-Río. Thank you!
All of the people who responded to me advised me to use video
recordings. I was advised to use more than one camera, and perhaps
to use separate audio recording tools. An advantage of audio tools is
that each participant can definitely be heard and sometimes it can be
fed directly into transcription software. The downside is that the
equipment is sometimes very visible, thereby possibly altering the
behaviour in the group. I was advised to do a trial run of a recording
and to test the sound in the rooms. Also, a great tip was to keep notes
during observation, possibly with a graphic overview of the room and
the location of group members so it is easier to remember who
spoke when at a later stage.
I have also received a lot of advice regarding transcription software.
Sukriye Ruhi recommended EXMARaLDA, a programme that works
with tiers (like a musical score) to make it easier to transcribe each
individual’s speech activity in a group. Both Sigal Uziel-Karl and José I.
Aguilar-Río shared their positive experience of working with CLAN
software, whereas Bruce Anderson uses ELAN, and two packages
(Womble MPEG Video Editor and FormatFactory) for editing and
Finally, José I. Aguilar-Río referred me to Paul ten Have’s book on
conversation analysis (CA), in which practical issues around
transcription are dealt with. I am ashamed to admit I did not own a copy
yet and I bought it immediately.
Again, I would like to thank those of you that posted a reply! I am the
only linguist working at my institution, so it is great to feel like I am part
of a network in which I can ask questions and feel inspired!
All the best,
Anne de la Croix
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