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okingPapesJoL1720091e7iona1rsofJapan

Intersubjectivity and control in dyadic dialogic communication

Mohammed Ahmed

InternationaUniversityofJapan

Absrac

ThispaperiscomceptuallymotivatedbytlleVygo5kiansocioculturaltheoryargue5that

interlocutorsindyadicconverationsdomuchmorethantransferorexchangeinforma1ion

theycreatstatesofintersuLiectivityandcontrolThediscussionfocusesonadiscourse

analysisofhevarying1seofpersonalpronounsintaskbasedconversationsofdyads

involvingnativeandnonnativspeakersofEnglish

1INTRODUCTION

Conversationalinteractionhasbeenasignifcantareainsecondlanguageresearch

SLRsincethel980sAmainfbcusofthi3researchhasbeenontheinteractionalfeatureof

whatiscallednegotiationofmeaningTheoreticallynegotiationofmeaningentailsthe

notionofcommunicationastransferorexchangeofinfbmationbetweeninterlocutorsIn

otherwordsitisassumedthatwhentwoindividualsenterintoadialogtheysendandreceive

messagosNegotiationofmeaningisviewedasanattemptonthepartofinterlocutorstonot

onlyexchangeinfbrmationbuttociarifeachothersmessageslnthiscontexttaskisseen

asanimportantvariableTaskswhiehrequireobligatoryexchangeofinfbrmationare

supposedtoprovidemoreopportunitiesfbrnegotiationofmeaningthantasksinwhich

infbrmationismerelytransferredfromoneinterlocutortoanotherSuchnegotiationof

meaningmakesinputcomprehensiblewhichfacilitateslanguageacquisition

Thediscussioninthlspaperfbcusesontaskbasedconversationaiinteractions

inolvingnativcandnonnativespeakersofEnglishHoweveritismotivatedbyan

alternativetheoreticalapproachtoconversationalinteractionwhichviewssuchinteractionas

morecomplexthantransfbrorexchangeofinfbrmationThispaperisconceptuallyrootedin

Vygotskiansocioculturaltheory1whichprovidesadifferentperspectiveoncomrnunication

taskandtheuseoflanguagenterlnsofspeoificdataanddis6ussionitanalysestheuseof

thelinguisticfeatureofpersonalpronounsindyadicdiscussionsbasedonspecifictasks

2CONCEPTUALFRAMEWORK

InVygotskianperspectivecommunicationinvoIvesintersubjectivitytaskis

embeddedinactivltyandlanguagehasreguZatoryfunetionsThenotionofintersujectivity

hasbeendiscussedbyRommetveit1985Rommetveitmakessomeimportantassumptions

1

abouthumandiscourseingeneralAsheputsithumandiscoursetakesplaceanddealswith

apluralisticonlyfragmentarilyknownandonypartiallysharedworldp183Henceas

pointedoutbyWertsohaforemostVygotskianscholarintheWestinlinewith

RomlnetveltsvievvitlsincorrecttoassumethatwhentWointerlocutorsbeginadialogthey

alreadyhaeanagreeduponfbundationfbrcommunicationintermsofbackground

knowledgeWertsch1985160Infacttheinterlocutersmaybegnwithdifferent

perspectiesoronlyavagueintpretationofeachothersutterancestheydonots1mply

negotiatemeaningintermsofinfbrmationtransferexchangebutengageinsemiotically

mediatednegotiatlonbywhichtheycreateatemporarilysharedworldWertschl985

16DThissharedwobldiswhatRommetveitreferstoasintersubjectivityommunication

aimsatranscendenceoftheprivateworldsoftheparticipantsRommetve1t197994

Henceinanyinvestigationofverbalcomrunicationresearchersshouldfbcusonsuch

socialinteractionaifeaturesofcommunicationasstatesofintersubjectlvityRommetveit

1985183

Furthermoretherelationshipbetweenthetwointerlocutorsindyadiccommunication

isnottobeseenlntermsofthesenderandthereceiverofmessagesbutintermsofpatterns

ofdyadiccommunicationcontroiRommetveit1985184Thesopatternsofcontrolmaybe

symmetricorasymmetricInthesymmetricpatterntheinterlocutorsareabletoprsenteach

othersprivateworldsfreelybasedontheirrespectivesituationdefinitionsSituation

definitionisinitselfakeyconcepttmeansthewayinwhichasettingorcontextis

representedthatisdefinedbythosewhoareoperatinginthatsettingWertsch19848

Simplyputtwointerlocutorscommunicatinginthesamecontextandapparentlydoingthe

sametaskmayhaedifferentperspectivesandgoalsInfaotthetaskmaybeunderstoodby

theinterlocutorsdifflerentlyfromwhattheresearcherhasinmindThevryuseoftheword

detionlnWertschs1979situationdeitionmeanstheparticipantsengagedin

communicatingwitheachotherdonotpassivelyreceiveinstructionsfromtheresearcherbut

createtheirowninstructionswhiledefiningthetaskfbrthemselves

Comingbacktopatternsofcontrolindyadiccommunicationinmaximally

symmetricdyadiccomrnunicationthereisunlimitedinterchangeabilityofeachothers

privateworlditisacommunicativesituatieninwhichboththeparticipantsfeelequally

powerfuHoweverconditionsfbrsuchpureintersubjectivityrarelyexistInfactinthe

realworldapluralisticsooiaworldduetounequaidistributionofowledgepower

dyadiccommunlcationismostlycharacterizedbyasymmetricpatternsRommetveit1985

2

1841nshortindlvidualinterlocutorsdependngonthelrrespectivesituationdefinitions

experiencevariablepowerrelationshipsbetweeneachother

Theasymmetricpatternsofcontrolemergeinavariablemannerinwhatiscalledthe

faturesofobjectregulationoherregulationandselfLregu1ationlntheinterlocutors

behaviorinapartioulartaskTheconceptofregulationorcontrolinrelationtolanguage

needstobebrieflyexplainednotherwordsasFrawley1987147putsitthefunctionof

languageistheregulationofselfothersandobjectsinthesocialworldInotherwordsas

Frawleyexplalnsitweuselanguagetocontrotobjeetsintheextemalworldegnamingan

objectisthemosteementalfunctionoflanguageInsocialinteractionsweuselanguageto

controlothersconverselyothersmaycontrolusSpeeohactsaretypicalexamplcsThemost

criticalfUnctionofthelanguageisselfregulationieweuselanguagetoregulateourself

`llselfdireotedmonologicalutteranceshavethisfunctionInthiscontextprivatespeech

whichisselfdirectedspeechmaybosenevenisanindividualistalkingtoanother

individualmaycomeupdependingonthenatureoftheactivitytheyareengagedinInthis

contextheimportantresearchconcemsarewhethertheindividualinterlocutorsare

regulatingorcontrollingorbeingregulaedorcontrolledinataskstuatlonwhetheran

individualinterlocutorlsabletomaintainselfregulationlnthepresenceoftheother

interlocutorwhetheranindividualinterlocutorbecomesobjectregulatedbythenonhuman

factsofthetaskTheelementoftaskitSelfisembeddedwithinaninterlocutorssituation

definiton

InshortinVygotskianpsycholinguistictheorycommunicatlonisnotseenasa

channelconsistingoftwodiscretepointsaspeakerandalistenerwhichareconnectedbya

oommunicativelineiethetransferofmessagesthroughwordswrappedaspackagesThe

interlocutorsasindividualbeingswiththeirownsituationdefinitionsbecomethefbcusof

investigationFurthertheircommunicationwitheachotherisviewedintermsofthedyadic

statesofintersubjectivityAndfinallytherelationshipisanalyzedintermsofthedynamics

ofoontrol

Giventhesetheoretioalfociaparticularnotionofspeakingasanactivityemerges

Whilespeakinghumansdonotunderstandeachothersmessagesbutinsteadbelievethat

theyunderstandeachotherFrawleyandLantolf1984143Theactofspeakinglsnotto

provideinformationbuttocontrolanonhumanobjcctanetherhumanoreneselfinthetask

situationFrawleyandLantolf1984143

3

IntllisperspectivetaskisseenasembeddedinactMtyAbasicVygotskiarlnotionis

thatanobjectlssignificantnotititsexternalexistencebutthesubjectsacttowardsit

statedbyLeontievasquotedinAsmolov198279notherwordsanoectgains

significanceonlywilenitentersaparticuarcontextofhumanactivltyHenceissimple

tcrmsataskassignedbyaresearcherisnotsignificantintermsofitsownfeaturesbutin

reiationtotheactivityinterlocutorsengageinandanyactivityatitsoperationalIevelisgoaI

drivenIinkedtointeriocutorsmotivesintheendTheimplicationisthathowthe

interlocutorsviewanassignedtaskismoreimportantthanwhattheresearcherexpect5them

todointhetask

InfacttheconceptofactivityasageneralexplanatoryprincipeunderliesVygotkan

psycholinguistictheoryltalsoprovidesananalyticalframeworkinwhichtherearethree

distinctlevesactMtyactionandoperationcorrespondingtomotivegoalandconditions

ofpsychologicabehaviorLeontiev1982WertschI985LantolfThorne2006

InVygotskianperspectiveIinguisticexpressionsofanindividualprovideinsights

intothcseregulatoryfUnctionsoflanguageInataskbasedconversationalinteractionthey

showthecognitivestatesofanindMduaIwhendealingwiththetaskinrelationtoanother

individual

Thispaperfocusesondiscussingtheuseofpersonalpronounsatofdeixisin

IinguisticallybasedcommunlcationAsRommetveit197436pointsoutpersonaI

pronounsYg1Leconstitutetheinterpersonaicordinatesofdialogiccommunicati6n

TheyrevealthepersonaldynamicsbetweentheinterlocutorsintaskbasedactivityIn

Vygotskyantermstheiruserevealsaninterlocutorsregulatorybehaviorinrelationtothe

otherinterocutorinaconversationWhiletenscaspectmarkingmayshowaninterlocutors

1blegitrybha1ieltittktimlidictisediAhmd1994geneal

pronounsrevealthesamephenomenonbutwithreferencetotheinterpersonalrelationship

establishedornotestablishedbytheinterlocutorsduringtheactivityofdialogic

t

communlcatlon

Insimpletermsindialogicspeechtheuseofbyaspeakerisameansof

establishinghisownidentityvisavisthatoftheotherinterlocutorwhiletheuseofpersonaI

voindicatesthespeakerslocationandidentificatienoftheotherinterlocutorInthis

contexttheuseofindicatesthesimultaneouspresenceofbothinterlocutorsinthemindof

4

speakerinrelationtoaspecifictaskItmayshowasenseofjointactivityintaskperformance

onthepartofthespeaker

ThispapernextdesoribesdataandmethodologyInthediscus

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