GSE Publications

Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version

March 1996


This article presents a systematic technique for uncovering interactional patterns in conversation. While an indefinite number of verbal and paralinguistic cues can potentially establish interactional structure, one type of form often plays a central role. Deictics systematically index aspects of the context, and these forms often sketch out the framework of an interactional event. This article discusses and illustrates the methodological usefulness of one type of deitic in particular - participant deitics, or "personal pronouns". It analyzes five minutes of a classroom conversation, and shows how systematic attention to participant deitics helps uncover the interactional dynamics. The paper ends by considering the limitations of this methodological technique.


Postprint version. Published in Journal of Pragmatics, Volume 25, Issue 3, March 1996, pages 331-348.
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NOTE: At the time of publication, the author Stanton Wortham was affiliated with Bates College. Currently June 2007, he is a faculty member of the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania.



Date Posted: 04 June 2007

This document has been peer reviewed.