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Title:A conversation analytic study of practices of affiliation and disaffiliation in Arabic in Aljazeera’s “The Opposite Direction”
Author(s):Shalash, Dana
Director of Research:Koshik, Irene
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Koshik, Irene
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Christians, Clifford; Golato, Andrea; Herrera, Linda
Department / Program:Linguistics
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Conversation Analysis, Discourse Analysis, Linguistics, Arabic, Affiliation, Disaffiliation, Broadcast News Interviews, Aljazeera, The Opposite Direction, Institutional Talk, Questioning, Question-answer design, Repeats, Repair, Non-repair, Callhome
Abstract:This dissertation studies the discursive strategies used by the interviewer (IR) to further or block the interviewees’ (IEs’) agenda and stance in “The Opposite Direction,” a weekly news interview program that broadcasts live in Arabic on Aljazeera. The show has been on the air since Aljazeera’s inception, in the late 1990s. The show hosts two guests with opposing political views, who are pitted against each other in a heated discussion as they represent and defend their own political and institutional affiliation. I argue that the IR uses different questioning practices with the two interviewees (IEs) allowing one to further his agenda while blocking the other’s agenda. Guests whose political views are in sync with those of the IR are seated to the right of the screen. I call them interviewees in the favorable position (IEFs). The other guests, representing the ‘other’ view, are seated to the left of the screen and are in the disfavorable position (IEDs). This dissertation shows that these actions of agenda- furthering or blocking are implemented by the IR and shows how they are achieved. For the analysis presented in this dissertation, I have studied twenty, fifty-minute episodes from “The Opposite Direction” using Conversation Analysis as my analytic method. The dissertation shows that the IR regularly employs four practices that allow him to further his own and his IEFs’ agenda. Those include 1) repeats of IEFs’ prior talk with rising intonation, 2) pseudo candidate understandings, 3) candidate responses, and 4) anticipatory completions. The first practice is treated by the IEF as an opportunity to confirm and highlight a previous point. As a result, the IEFs normally respond by producing an identical repeat. For the second strategy, the IR uses the format of a candidate understanding, resaying of previous turns in new words as if to check his understanding. I referred to this practice as a “pseudo” candidate understanding because there is little to no connection between the IEFs’ previous points and the IR’s reformulation. Using pseudo candidate understandings allows the IR to divert the conversation in a specific direction that allows the IR to further his own agenda. The IEFs respond by confirming those pseudo candidate understandings, and at times incorporating them in their next turns. The third practice, using candidate responses, allows the IR to insert, model, and cue to the IEF a satisfactory response even before the IEFs have had a chance to respond to the IR’s question. And finally, the IR displays affiliation with his IEFs by completing his IEF’s turn in progress. All four practices allow the IEF to have more opportunities to talk and to further either the IR’s or the IEFs’ own agenda. My dissertation also shows that the IR uses disaffiliative strategies with his IEDs. Those include 1) repeats of IEDs’ prior turns, 2) disagreement through disrespectful language, and 3) using ‘did you know’ questions. Repeats of IEDs’ prior turns, or DOIRs as I refer to them, allow the IR to block the IED’s turn in favor of issuing a direct disagreement in the next turn. The repeat in a DOIR sequence is done to set up a contrast between what the IED has just said and what the IR subsequently claims to be true. The dissertation distinguishes between the affiliative and disaffiliative repeats. It shows that Disaffiliative other initiated repeats (DOIRs) are distinct from their Affiliative repeats (the AOIRs). Whereas AOIRs are said with rising intonation and are oriented to as an opportunity to confirm and highlight a previous point, DOIRs are said with falling intonation and are treated as a pre-disagreement. The dissertation fills a gap in the Arabic literature by studying and analyzing examples of repair formats in Arabic talk including repeats. The dissertation also builds on existing literature on broadcast news interviews and it presents examples of other undescribed strategies through which IRs express adversarialness with their IEs. The dissertation has implications that are multidisciplinary for Conversation Analysis, Arabic linguistics, cross cultural studies, Middle Eastern studies and Arabic media studies.
Issue Date:2019-04-12
Rights Information:Copyright 2019 Dana Shalash
Date Available in IDEALS:2019-08-23
Date Deposited:2019-05

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