A short overview on Ethnography of communication. The slides briefly shed light on EOC as an approach to discourse analysis. There are few photos along with the material to help reads glean some insight into the subject.
2. ETHNOGRAPHY OF COMMUNICATION
The ethnography of communication is an approach
to discourse analysis that is based on anthropology and
linguistics. Ethnography of Speaking is also Known as
Ethnography of communication since it embraces
features of non-verbal communication too.
Hymes states that the Ethnography of speaking is
“Concerned not simply with language structure, but with
language use, with ‘‘rules of speaking ……the ways in
which speakers associate particular modes of speaking,
topics, or message forms, with particular settings and
Coulthard (1985, p 34)
3. The Goal Ethnography of communication:
Is to study the communicative competence of
a specific speech community by discovering and
analyzing patterns of communication that
organize the use of language in particular
4. Communicative competence
Hymes Insists that scholars focus on
communicative competence, which not only
involves the knowledge of abstract linguistic
rules, but also the ability to use language in
concrete situations of everyday life, such as the
ability to check in at a hotel, argue pray or even
use silence appropriately.
6. Four Aspects (Dimensions) Of Competence
Hymes identifies the Possible, the feasible, the appropriate
and the performed as four distinct aspects of communicative
1- What is formally possible in the language in terms of its
encoded grammatical and lexical properties.
2- Formal properties are actually processed in the mind, then we
shall naturally focus on feasibility.
3- A focus on appropriateness will bring context into
4- How far a communicative language component is performed
or produced; the frequency of its occurrence.
7. Four interrelated dimensions in any description:
“ways of speaking”
1. The linguistic resources available to a speaker
how many different styles he can choose from.
2. Supra -sentential structuring – how many
differently structured linguistic events, like
trials, religious ceremonies, debates, songs, are
8. 3. The rules of interpretation by which a given set
of linguistic items comes to have a given
4. The norms which govern different types of
9. Ethnography of communication is a way of
analyzing discourse by using the same sort of methods
that anthropologists might use to study other aspects of a
culture, such as religious practices.
Speech situation: circumstances involving the use of
Speech events: a group of speech acts or interactions
(Van Herk, 2012:117)
10. SPEECH EVENTS
Hymes describes speech events often coinciding with
what other researchers might term ‘genres’. Speech
events, for Hymes, are activities that are directly
governed by rules or norms for the use of speech.
Hymes gives stories, conversation, lectures and
formal introductions as examples of speech events.
Hyme’s view speech events should be treated as
analytically independently of one another, as one
speech event (for example, a sermon) may be invoked
in another speech event, or situation for a certain
12. SPEECH COMMUNITY
The notion of speech community is central to the
ethnography of communication. Coulthard (1985)
Any group which shares both linguistic resources
and rules for interaction and interpretation is
defined as a speech community.
Hymes argues that it is possible for speakers to
share formal linguistic features, phonology,
grammar, lexis, but still to be unable to interpret
accurately each other's messages.
14. Labov in a discussion of aspects of language
use among adolescent New York negroes,
presents utterances like 'your momma's a peanut
man', or 'your mother's a duck', which are
superficially intelligible but whose real
significance as ritual insults is not available to
most English speakers.
15. Speakers who apparently share the same language
may also have different 'norms as to greetings,
acceptable topics, what is said next in a
conversation', how speaking turns are distributed
and so on.
Sacks, Schegloff and Jefferson suggest that for
American English there is a conversational rule that only
one speaker speak~ at a time, whereas Reisman observes
that in Antigua 'the start of a new voice is not in itself a
signal for the voice speaking to stop or to institute a
process which will decide who is to have the floor‘
16. A number of criteria for identifying a speech
1. Shared language use.
2. Frequency of interaction by a group of people.
3. Shared rules of speaking and interpretation of speech
4. Shared attitudes and values regarding language forms
5.Shared socio-cultural understanding and
presuppositions with regard to speech.
17. HYMES’ SPEAKING GRIDS
Hymes uses the word SPEAKING as an acronym for the
various factors that he deems to be relevant.
18. HYMES’ SPEAKING GRID
The key elements [SPEAKING] are:
1- The Setting and Scene (S) of speech are important. Setting
(physical circumstances) refers to the time and place, e.g, Home,
2- The participant refers to the actors in the scene and their role
relationships, including personal characteristics, such as: age, sex,
social status, and relationships. The Participant includes various
combinations of speaker-hearer, addresser-addressee, or sender-
receiver. E.g., Mother-daughter teacher-pupil
19. HYMES’ SPEAKING GRID
3- Ends (purposes/goal/outcomes) refer to the
conventionally recognized and expected outcomes of an
4- Act sequence (message form and content) refers to the
actual form and content of what is said: the precise words
used, how they are used and the relationship of what is
said to the actual topic at hand.
5- Key refers to the tone, manner, or spirit in which a
particular message is conveyed: light-hearted, serious,
mocking, sarcastic, etc.
20. HYMES’ SPEAKING GRID
6- Instrumentalities refer to the choice of particular channel, e.g.
oral, written, or telegraphic, and to the actual forms of speech
drawn from community repertoire, such as: the language,
dialect, code, or register that is chosen.
7- Norms of interaction and interpretation refer to the specific
behaviours and proprieties that attach to speaking and also to
how these may be viewed by someone who does not share them,
e.g. loudness, silence, gaze return, etc.
8- Genre (textual categories) refers to the clearly demarcated
types of utterance, such as: poems, proverbs, riddles, sermons,
prayers, lectures and editorials, the cultural category of talk (e.g.
insults, compliments, apologies). (Alba-Juez,2009)
21. Limiting criterion of a speech community is the sharing
of one linguistic variety.
Blom and Gumperz report an investigation in the
Norwegian village of Hemnesberget where all the
residents speak both the standard language, Bokmal,
and the local dialect Ranamal. Bokmal is the language
of formal education, official transactions, religion and
the mass media, but the local dialect still enjoys great
prestige, and by 'identifying himself as a dialect
speaker both at home and abroad, a member
symbolizes his pride in his community.
22. Blom and Gumperz were interested in the
factors which influenced the use of one rather
than the other.
They concluded that locals would typically use
local dialect except in situations 'defined with
respect to the superimposed national Norwegian
23. References List :
ALBA-JUEZ,Laura (2009).perspectives on discourse analysis:
theory and practice. Newcastle, Cambridge scholars publishing.
COULTHARD, Malcolm(1985), An Introduction to Discourse
Analysis. 2nd ed., New York, Routledge .
VAN HERK, Gerard(2012) what is sociolinguistics. West Sussex,
WIDDOWSON, H.G(2007). Discourse analysis. Oxford, Oxford