While trawling through the many piles of conversational data being thrown at me while I’m happily ensconced as a CLIC visiting graduate student at UCLA, I’ve made a little mnemonic device for myself to help me tackle a transcript turn by turn:

Turn # (lines)
– seq:
– pos:
– act:
– mrk:
– des:

For each turn of talk, I’m asking myself:

  1. Which turn number is it?
  2. Which lines does it occupy?
  3. What is it in its local sequence? (an FPP, an SPP etc.)
  4. Which position in the sequence does it occupy?
  5. What action does it implement? (If any.)
  6. What is it marked by? (If at all.)
  7. How is it designed/shaped?

Although there’s always lots more to ask of any turn, especially in terms of its use of conventional formulations, detailed lexical/syntactic/prosodic features and how the turns in or across sequences interrelate, this seems like a reasonable set of initial questions to ask when looking at a turn for the first time.

I’m OK with the acronym S.P.A.M.D. but would welcome any suggestions for other turn-analytic question labels beginning with M or even better – with E so I can complete the set.

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