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Issue Date: 1984
Abstract: One significant feature that mass communication shares with telephone conversations is the fact that an electronic medium intervenes between the interactants so that the communicator is removed from direct contact with the audience. The interpersonal level of coll111unication is made public as messages are widely disseminated to persons of both sexes and all ages who constitute the radio audience. Such features of mass communication are often taken for granted and go unnoticed, even as the audience is entertained by the warm and friendly chatter or the DJ or telecaster. Behind all this is the complex structure of media organization which this description hopes to capture. In order to discover just what kind of talk goes on in some radio programmes, two local quiz shows have been selected for conversational analysis to compare and contrast their structural features. These two programmes provide naturally occurring conversations through the telephone as they are phone-in quiz programmmes. The participants are from two different age groups, below twelve year-olds in one programme and young adults and adults in the other. These two programmes broadcast by the Singapore Broadcasting Corporation of Singapore are "Small Talk" and "Beauty with a Beat". Both are weekend broadcasts that include requests 0f songs and quiz questions for call-in participants. Prizes are awarded for correct answers. In addition, the programmes provide samples of telephone rituals such as greetings and farewells. Tape recordings were made in August and September 1983 and one programme of each, a total of seventeen conversations, was transcribed for close analysis. Literature related to the description include Sacks Schegloff and Jefferson's (1974) who provide the ethnographic analytical framework. The notion of “Topic” adapted from Keenan and Schieffelin (1976) and how topic is developed are defined and discussed in relation with speech episodes, routines and conversational acts. Adaptations are made from Maynard's (1980) notion of 'invitations' (TDI) and 'announcements' (TDA) that contribute towards topic development with the inclusion of Topic Development Hold (TDH) that links topic development to repair in conversation. Other works surveyed and adapted include Covelli and Murray's (1980) notion of speech episodes, Gleason and Weintraub's (1975) notion of routines and Krashen and Scarcella's (1979) notion of routines and patterns in language acquisition and performance. Other authors surveyed and adapted include Remler (1978) and Thomas, Bull and Roger (1982). Conversational acts seen as linking the conversational heuristics with the content, giving as complete a description as possible. The description shows that the two programmes share similar features that regularly occur in every conversation providing evidence of a shared structure. Differences are few and distinct, arising out of the age group and interests of the participants, rather than any inherent deviation from any generally shared norm. Some general discussions follow on the findings that show these quiz conversations as a highly structured phenomenon. Other observations link the topical development with the conversation structure and the seemingly imbalanced turns at talk between the OJ and participants of "Small Talk". Comparatively, "Beauty with a Beat" displays a more equal distribution of talk. Probably differences in conversational competence between the adult group and the child participants account for this difference. Some speculations were made on the ethnic Chinese Singaporean 1 S transfer of Chinese tonal features to English intonation patterns. These speculations arise out of the transcription procedure that tries to capture the syllable-timed rhythm of English spoken in Singapore.
Appears in Collections:Master's Theses (Restricted)

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