Dissertation > Language, writing > FOREIGN > English > Grammar

An Analysis of the Conversation Structure in Oprah Winfrey Show

Author ZhangFengYun
Tutor LiXuKui
School Ocean University of China
Course Foreign Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
Keywords conversation analysis TV talk show Oprah Show conversation structure
CLC H314
Type Master's thesis
Year 2010
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The discourse of TV Talk Show is by nature a type of conversation, and in the meantime it belongs to the institutional discourse. Therefore, it is regarded as a combination of "interpersonal communication and media transmission". Based on the Conversation Analysis theory (CA for short) proposed by Sacks and his associates, this thesis aims to investigate the conversation structure in the American TV program Oprah Winfrey Show.This thesis intends to make a comprehensive observation and analysis of the turn-taking system and adjacency pair system, and demonstrate how the mechanism and rules of CA such as turn construction, allocation components and forms of adjacency pairs are presented in this particular TV talk show. Special emphasis is put on terms of interruption, overlap and preferred response. Through the co-operation of the turn-taking and adjacency pair systems, and especially from the perspective of PR and the violations of turn-taking rules, the bigger picture of the cooperative characteristics of talk shows is revealed.It is discovered that this talk show program, as a particular instance of an on-going talk-oriented process that happens in institutional settings, has some characteristics of daily conversations and possesses many distinctive features of media discourse as well. As far as linguistic features are concerned, the charm of the talk show stems from the interaction structure of the conversation, which can be partly attributed to the violations of the rules in CA, such as interruption and overlap.The thesis further analyzes the reasons of the features, namely that interruption, overlap and preferred response are all phenomena intentionally or automatically adopted by the talk show host and guests, play active roles in the mutual relationship between the communicators in response and feedback, and also encourage the current speaker to share more and make the conversation go on in a lively and dynamic pace. These are all important elements in making a talk show successful.Through the analysis of the conversation structural features of Oprah Show, this thesis aims to gain deeper insights into the nature of interactions in TV talk shows, offer new insights into the audience’s comprehension and appreciation of such programs, and at the same time enhance people’s sensitivity and efficiency in language use especially for teachers in classroom teaching.

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