April 30, 2002

The 28th Meeting of Mind and Activity

Saturday, April 27

3:30 pm. - 7:00 pm.
Honkan (Main building)
Room #1505 (on the south wing of the 5th floor)
Meiji Gakuin University, Tokyo


This meeting is a pre-session of a panel for the 2002 International Conference for Conversation Analysis to be held in Copnehagen in May 2002.

  1. Tomoyo Takagi (Keio University, Tokyo)
    Sequence Management in Japanese Child-Adult Interactions: Children's use of 'third position'

    This paper is part of a larger study that explores how it is possible for very young children, with limited linguistic resources, and adults to initiate and maintain interactions, through which various everyday activities are accomplished. In this presentation I will focus on how Japanese children manage sequences in which the child produces a turn in 'first position' that occasions the adult's subsequent response in 'second position', and then repeats his/her initial turn in 'third position'. My analysis shows that in some cases a repeat in third position by children is deployed as a 'third position repair' (Schegloff, 1991; 1992), while in other cases it is used to elicit from the adult participant an alternative response to the initial response. Furthermore, the data indicate that in the former cases the child repeats his/her initial turn with some recognizable changes to mark what was specifically problematic with the interpretation of the initial turn. In the latter cases, the child produces the repeat as if it were a first occurrence, namely, without any changes specifically differentiating it from the first occurrence--it simply provides the recipient with another opportunity to respond.

    Thus these children demonstrate the capability to utilize a structurally provided locus for displaying their own understanding of the adult's preceding turn and for dealing with problems in understanding the turn that they themselves had produced earlier: In their production of a turn in third position, the children, in other words, distinguish different interactional exigencies in publicly recognizable ways (i.e. by using repeats with or without noticeable changes). This presentation is thus intended to illustrate how a rudimentary practice of building and rebuilding intersubjectivity in co-present interaction can emerge in children. Moreover, it also describes the interactional procedures involved in accomplishing such a process, namely, learning to organize their (repair-initiative) actions so as to be publicly recognized as such.

  2. Domenic Berducci (Toyama Prefectural University, Japan)
    "Let's go to there": Anticipating structure in biochemist and technician's verbal and non-verbal laboratory interaction

    This research uses the conversation analysis and Wittgensteinian conceptions of learning (Williams, 1999), to examine the interaction between a Japanese biochemist and technician in a one-hour laboratory training session. The analysis focuses specifically on these participants 'learning' the structure (Erickson and Shultz, 1981; Mehan, 1978) of that interaction, rather than the scientific content. The methodology of this study differs from more traditional learning studies in at least two essential ways. First, it offers an alternative to cognitive and quasi-cognitive (Vygotskian) analyses of learning by demonstrating in the participants' collaboration, their awareness of the activity structure, and their emergent and changing anticipation as the training ensues. Second, as alluded to, this study focuses on the participants' learning of that activity structure rather than its scientific content. Specifically, it focuses on how the biochemist and the technician coordinate their actions to move from one part of the lab to another to complete the laboratory training, and allow the technician to autonomously complete the experiment. Initial overt instruction in the form of explicit rules from the biochemist to the technician were found to disappear from view, yet the participants' emergent actions demonstrate consistent, that is consistent with the biochemist's rule, ongoing and changing anticipatings in becoming increasingly familiar with the structure of the laboratory instruction.

  3. Aug Nishizaka (Meiji Gakuin University, Tokyo)
    Learning as a form of participation

    People often become able to do what they were not able to do. This is an undeniable fact. An obvious instance would be that of a child becoming able to speak a language. This change in ability is often what we vernacularly refer to as learning. The aim of this paper is to reconsider the very conception of learning as a change in ability through an analysis of two sets of data.

    In vernacular terms, leaning is somehow related to such notions as memory and remembering. In order to gain a certain sense of to how to approach the targeted topic, i.e., learning, I first demonstrate, using an analysis of telephone conversation fragments, how remembering is organized in the actual development of interaction. In particular, focus is placed on the practices of constructing turns and transforming participation frameworks such that remembering is made relevant in the course of interaction.

    Concentrating further on the construction of turns and the transformation of participation frameworks, the analysis of the other set of data, fragments from videotaped violin lessons, shows how the participants, an instructor and a four-year- old child, organize their interaction in such a way as to make visible what should be learned and what has been learned. One of prominent things about violin lessons is that the very instrument that the child is supposed to learn to use is also a tool for organizing the participation framework where the ongoing activity, i.e., a lesson, is being done. This suggests that learning is achieved as successful participation in the very activity currently being engaged in.

  4. Scott Saft (University of Tsukuba, Japan)
    "Learning Displays" and the Study of Foreign Languages on Japanese TV

    Research on learning has begun to place an emphasis not on cognitive processes but instead on the processes used by participants in actual instances of social interaction (e.g. Takagi 2001; Wootton 1994; 1997). This study attempts to build on this emerging research by examining TV programs in Japan which provide instruction on various foreign languages to the general public. Specifically, the analysis focuses on the organization of "learning displays", interactional sequences on the program where actual language learners are shown to be mastering aspects of a target language (TL). The programs typically feature three main participants, a Japanese native speaker who is an expert in the TL, a native speaker of the TL, and a Japanese native speaker, usually a young woman, who has just begun to learn the TL. This study concentrates on the learner's interaction with the two experts, describing how her successes as well as failures in producing the TL constitute displays to the viewing audience, who serve as the real target audience of the program.

    In particular, the analysis focuses on sequences which begin with questions in Japanese from the learner (i.e., how do you say X in the TL) and which include model answers from the TL native speaker, repetitions by the learner, and finally assessments by the experts of the learner's performance. While it is shown that these and other sequences used on the programs bear a resemblance to those used in classroom discourse (Macbeth 1994; McHoul 1978; Mehan 1979; Sinclair & Coulthard 1975), the analysis also highlights how the participants orient in the interaction to the presence of an onlooking audience, in other words, how they produce learning on the program as a social action that can be used by others as a tool for studying and even learning foreign languages.