Learning Linguistics

The linguistics assignment was one I was rather excited about. I for one love live television and was excited to transcribe one of my favorite live programs I chose, Watch What Happens Live on Bravo. I knew it would be lots of listening, repeating recordings to hear words and pauses correctly, but I thought it would be interesting. From this assignment I learned a lot of respect for linguistics who do this for a living! It is not very difficult work just very tedious and time consuming! It also made me view one of my favorite shows in a new light!

Notsinger in the article we read talks about taking turns in conversations. He stresses the importance of conscious organization within our conversations. “The very nature of everyday conversation derives, in large part, from its turn-taking system.” This is an idea I had never thought of before. I’ve had uncountable numbers of conversations in my life yet had never thought of them as “organized.” They have to be organized in turn taking terms however for it to be considered a conversation. If it was one person talking to another person without responses or allocating a response, then it is simply not a conversation! When watching WWHL, I realized while I love the host Andy, he does not do a very good job with his organization of speaking turns. He tends to interrupt his guests, with short bursts of one word sentences like “yes” or “okay” or simply with understanding sounds like “um.” While mostly unnoticeable to regular viewers (like myself before this project) it is quite clear to one looking at the use of linguistics on the show. By messing up the organization of his conversations, he directly misdirects the flow of conversation and hurts it’s meaning or purpose.

here’s a nice picture I found of the show I transcribed, just to put a picture to the thought or description!




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