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Revitalizing Endangered Languages

Edited by Justyna Olko & Julia Sallabank

Revitalizing Endangered Languages "This guidebook provides ideas and strategies, as well as some background, to help with the effective revitalization of endangered languages. It covers a broad scope of themes including effective planning, benefits, wellbeing, economic aspects, attitudes and ideologies."



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Dissertation Information


Title: Co-Constructing Social Roles in German Business Meetings: A Conversation Analytic Study Add Dissertation
Author: Tobias Barske Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Department of Germanic Langs & Lits
Completed in: 2006
Linguistic Subfield(s): Applied Linguistics; Discourse Analysis; Pragmatics; Sociolinguistics;
Subject Language(s): German
Director(s): Makoto Hayashi
Andrea Golato
Numa Markee

Abstract: This dissertation investigates how participants in German business meetings
collaborate to talk this speech exchange system into existence. Using the
methodology of conversation analysis, the study describes how participants
in meetings perform different social roles. Specifically, I focus on ways
in which the enactment of ‘doing-being-boss’ and ‘doing-being-employee’
depends upon a moment-by-moment collaboration between all participants. In
my description of how participants enact these social roles through
talk-in-interaction, I also provide the first attempt at systematically
incorporating embodied actions into the analysis of business meetings.


In chapter 1, I situate this dissertation within existing studies on
business meetings and introduce the research methodology of conversation
analysis. Chapter 2 examines all uses of the particle 'ok' in German
business meetings. In my presentation of the first description of 'ok' in
a language other than English, I argue that certain uses of 'ok' relate to
enacting the social role of ‘doing-being-boss.’ Furthermore, chapter 3
examines the practice of how employees produce extended reports about
ongoing projects. In discussing the social role of ‘doing-being-employee,’
I compare the practice of story-telling in ordinary conversation to that of
producing reports during German business meetings. Specifically, I describe
how speakers orient to a systematic use of intonation patterns to enable
correct and complete reports. Moreover, chapter 4 problematizes the notion
of pre-assigned social roles. Using the concept of zones of interactional
transition, I discuss instances where employees question the role of
meeting facilitator, chairperson, and boss. In analyzing the interactional
fallout in these examples, I offer additional evidence that social roles
such as boss represent a social construct which depends on a constant
co-construction of this role. Finally, in the conclusion I situate my
findings within the field of institutional talk.