Linguistics 557

Seminar on Stancetaking in Discourse
Rice University
Fall 2003

Course Meetings

MW 3:00-4:15Humanities 120

Instructor: Dr. Robert Englebretson

Office:Sewall Hall 376
Office Hours:Mon. 11-12, Thurs. 1:30-3:30, and by appointment.
Office Phone:713 348-4776
E-mail:reng {at}

Course Links

 Course Description

Stancetaking is one of the most fundamental and multifaceted human activities accomplished through language. Humans evaluate the world around them, express emotions, beliefs, and desires, claim or disavow authority, and align or disalign with others in social interaction. These are primary activities of speakers in everyday interaction, and therefore a functional approach to language would expect stancetaking to likewise motivate and shape language structure. One aim of this seminar is to explore the consequences of stancetaking for language form at all levels.

Stancetaking has been addressed from divergent but related fields such as linguistics, sociology, and anthropology, and a common understanding is only recently beginning to emerge at the intersection of these disciplines. Research on facets of stancetaking has been carried out under labels such as evaluation, subjectivity, epistemicity, footing, alignment, assessment, epistemology, agency, and ideology. Unfortunately, however, the boundaries and methodologies of specific disciplines and subfields have tended to obscure the cross-disciplinary relevance and interdependence of this work. Traditional linguistic approaches have tended to focus on the subjective dimensions of stancetaking, treating it from the monologic perspective of individual language users. Anthropological research has tended to focus on the cultural contingencies of stancetaking, and the construction of morality and responsibility. Sociological and ethnomethodological approaches recognize stance as co-constructed among participants within the dialogic world of interaction. Stancetaking permeates human experience at all levels, but our understanding of these phenomena remains incomplete and fragmentary.

The purpose of this seminar is to explore a variety of perspectives and approaches to stancetaking in naturally-occurring discourse. We will seek cross-disciplinary understanding and integration, in order to arrive at a richer and more unified perspective. As such, this seminar is situated squarely in the burgeoning field which has come to be known as interactional linguistics--bringing together the quantitative methodology of discourse/corpus linguistics and the qualitative methodology of ethnography and Conversation Analysis, to gain insight into language form and function as well as cultural construction and social interaction. Research questions we will address include, but are not limited to:

This course is a seminar, focusing on student-led, in-depth discussion of readings and hands-on analysis of discourse data. Students are required to actively lead and participate in data sessions and discussions of the readings.

Readings for this course will explore stance within a variety of traditions: corpus linguistics, conversation analysis, discourse analysis, cognitive linguistics, typology, ethnographic methods, ethnomethodology, and interactional sociolinguistics.

* Note: If you require course material in an alternative format or need special accommodations due to a disability, please contact the instructor and the Disability Support Services Office (Ley Student Center room 122).

Course Requirements

Course Outline

This outline is maximally flexible and preliminary, and open to student input. We will modify the schedule based on student goals and interests, and we may not get to all of the material listed here for each topic.

Schedule of dates, topics, and readings
8/25-8/27IntroductionKärkkäinen et al.; Wu
9/1-9/8EvaluationThompson & Hunston; Martin; Biber & Finegan
9/10SubjectivityLangacker; Dahl; Scheibman
9/15-9/17AgencyDuranti (to appear); Duranti (1994)
9/22-9/24AuthorityKamio; Heritage & Raymond
9/29-10/1AssessmentPomerantz; Goodwin & Goodwin (1987 &/or 1992)
10/6-10/8EvidentialityWillet; fox
10/15Epistemic ModalityKärkkäinen
10/20-10/22Student Data SessionsNone
10/27-10/29Repetition/DialogicalityVoloshinov; Norrick; Ochs (1983)
11/3-11/5IntertextualityCouper-Kuhlen; Kotthoff; Beach & Anson
11/10-11/12AffectOchs(1986); Besnier; Haviland
11/17-11/19Identity/IndexicalityOchs (1992); Johnstone; Blom & Gumperz; Rampton
11/24-11/26Stance AttributionField; Akatsuka & Clancy
12/1-12/3Term Paper TopicsNone
12/17Term Papers due by 5pm (e-mail preferred)

 Full bibliographic references of course reading list

Kärkkäinen, Elise, Marja-Leena Sorjonen, and Marja-Liisa Helasvuo. Under Review. Discourse Structure. Submitted to Timothy Shopen (ed.), Language typology and syntactic description, 2nd Ed. (Cambridge University Press?).

Wu, Ruey-Jiuan Regina. forthcoming. Stance in Talk: A Conversation Analysis of Mandarin Final Particles. (Chapter 1.) Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Thompson, Geoff, and Susan Hunston. 2000. Evaluation: an introduction. In Susan Hunston and Geoff Thompson, eds. Evaluation in Text: Authorial Stance and the Construction of Discourse. 1-27. New York: Oxford University Press.

Martin, J. R. 2000. Beyond exchange: APPRAISAL systems in English. In Susan Hunston and Geoff Thompson, eds. Evaluation in Text: Authorial Stance and the Construction of Discourse. 142-175. New York: Oxford University Press.

Biber, Douglas and Edward Finegan. 1989. Styles of stance in English: Lexical and grammatical marking of evidentiality and affect. Text 9.1:93-124.

Langacker, Ronald W. 1985. Observations and speculations on subjectivity. In Haiman, John, ed. Iconicity in syntax, 109-150. Amsterdam: Benjamins.

Dahl, Östen. 2000. Egophoricity in discourse and syntax. Functions of Language 7.1: 37-77.

Scheibman, Joanne. 2001. Local patterns of subjectivity in person and verb type in American English conversation. In Joan L. Bybee and Paul J. Hopper, eds. Frequency Effects and Emergent Grammar, 61-89. Amsterdam: Benjamins.

Duranti, Alessandro. In Press. Agency in Language. to appear in Alessandro Duranti, ed. Companion to linguistic Anthropology. Malden, MA: Blackwell.

Duranti, Alessandro. 1994. From grammar to politics: linguistic anthropology in a western Samoan village, 114-166. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Kamio, Akio. 1997. Territory of Information. pp. 1-38. Amsterdam: Benjamins.

Heritage, John and Geoffrey Raymond. To Appear. The Terms of Agreement: Indexing Epistemic Authority and Subordination in Talk-in-Interaction.

Pomerantz, Anita. 1984. Agreeing and disagreeing with assessments: Some features of preferred/dispreferred turn shapes. In J. Maxwell Atkinson and John Heritage, eds. Structures of Social Action: Studies in Conversation Analysis. 57-101. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Goodwin, Charles and Marjorie Harness Goodwin. 1987. Concurrent operations on talk: Notes on the interactive organization of assessments. IPrA Papers in Pragmatics 1.1:1-54.

Goodwin, Charles and Marjorie Harness Goodwin. 1992. Assessments and the construction of context. In Alessandro Duranti and Charles Goodwin, eds. Rethinking Context: Language as an Interactive Phenomenon. 147-189. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Willet, Thomas. 1988. A cross-linguistic survey of the grammaticization of evidentiality. Studies in Language 12.1:51-97.

Fox, Barbara A. 2001. Evidentiality: Authority, responsibility, and entitlement in English conversation. Journal of Linguistic Anthropology 11.2:167-192.

Kärkkäinen, Elise. In Press. Epistemic Stance in English Conversation: A Description of Its Interactional Functions, with a Focus on ‘I think’. (Chapters 2 & 4). Amsterdam: Benjamins.

Voloshinov, V.N. 1986 [1930]. Marxism and the Philosophy of Language. (excerpts). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Norrick, Neal R. 1987. Functions of repetition in conversation. Text 7.3:245-264.

Ochs, Elinor. 1983. “Making it last: Repetition in children's discourse.” & “Evolving discourse - the next step.” In Elinor Ochs and Bambi Schieffelin, eds. Acquiring communicational competence, 26-49. London: Routledge.

Couper-Kuhlen, Elizabeth. 1996. The prosody of repetition: On quoting and mimicry. In Elizabeth Couper-Kuhlen and Margret Selting, eds. Prosody in Conversation: Interactional Studies. 366-405. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Kotthoff, Helga. 2002. Irony, Quotation, and Other Forms of Staged Intertextuality: Double or Contrastive Perspectivation in Conversation. In Carl F. Graumann and Werner Kallmeyer, eds. Perspective and Perspectivation in Discourse. Amsterdam: Benjamins.

Beach, Richard and Chris M. Anson. 1992. Stance and intertextuality in written discourse. Linguistics and Education 4:335-357.

Ochs, Elinor. 1986. From feelings to grammar: A Samoan case study. In Elinor Ochs and Bambi B. Schieffelin, eds. Language Socialization Across Cultures. 251-272. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Besnier, Niko. 1993. Reported speech and affect on Nukulaelae atoll. In Jane H. Hill and Judith T. Irvine, eds. Responsibility and Evidence in Oral Discourse. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Haviland, John B. 1989. 'Sure, sure': Evidence and affect. Text 9.1:27-68.

Ochs, Elinor. 1992. Indexing gender. in Alessandro Duranti and Charles Goodwin, eds. Rethinking context: language as an interactive phenomenon, 335-358. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Blom, Jan-Petter and John J. Gumperz. 1972. Social meaning in linguistic structure: code-switching in Norway. in John J. Gumperz and Dell H. Hymes, eds. Directions in Sociolinguistics, 407-434. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.

Johnstone, Barbara. 1995. Sociolinguistic Resources, Individual Identities and the Public Speech Styles of Texas Women. Journal of Linguistic Anthropology 5.2: 1-20.

Rampton, Ben. 1996. Crossing: Language across Ethnic Boundaries. In Hywel Coleman and Lynne Cameron, eds. Change and Language, 89-102. Clevedon, England: British Association for Applied Linguistics.

Akatsuka, Noriko and Patricia M. Clancy. 1993. Conditionality and deontic modality in Japanese and Korean: Evidence from the emergence of conditionals. Japanese/Korean Linguistics, 2, 177-192.

Field, Margaret. 1997. The role of factive predicates in the indexicalization of stance: A discourse perspective. Journal of Pragmatics 27.6:799-814.

Last updated: Fall 2003 by Robert Englebretson.