CA tutorial: analysis

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    transcript 1

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    pros & cons

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What is analysis?

    analysis 1

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We can use CA's accumulated knowledge of interaction again, as we did in example 1 on 'teasing'. Here we'll think about what 's going on when Lyn says to Zoe "you look like Fagin".

The line appears a moment after the end of the transcript we've been using so far. To see the clip, click here (or go to 'transcripts' in the main menu, and when the new screen comes up, click on 'you look like Fagin').

Here's the transcript (I've included the last few lines of what we've seen so far).

[Lyn & Zoe T5 31]
31Zoe ↑oh ↑god (.) look what ↑I'm wearing
32 (.3)
33 Lyn eh hehh huh [↑HUhh=
34?Zoe             [(heh)
35→Lyn=you look like (.) ↑Fa:gin
36 (.5) 
37Zoe eh HUHh HAhh h[ahh
38Lyn               [>heh hah hh< (.) ↑H=
39 ((squeaky at end))
40Zoe =w' maybe I am.
41Lyny' just need th' little gloves, with
42 th' ↑fingers out.
43 (.8)
44Zoe (°v' funny°)
45 (1.2)
46Zoe (°d'y wan' one.°)


Again we might be guided by something already known to CA - this time, how a 'tease' is set off and responded to.

Here I'm relying on work by Paul Drew. Have a look at one of his examples:

(GTS: I: 1: 44: R: 7; from Drew, 1987. Line numbers added; brackets added in lines 5 and 6)
1Louise What do you do to make yourself distinct=
2Roger=I mu- I must do something [I mean 'c[ause
3Louise:                           [Mmhm     [You
5Roger:ehhh hh  [n hn
6 →Al:        [You JA:CK off in your chai:r
7Roger:ehh heh .hehh Ya:h .hnff.hh
9Roger:No everybody: (.) you know: looks for
10this distinction.

We can read Al as teasing Roger in line 6. 

Drew observes that teases seem to be set off by something 'pretentious' or 'exaggerated'. What Roger says in line 2  is rather ostentatiously modest about what makes him distinctive. Al's ribald suggestion of what that is 'takes him down a peg'. Does that help us at all here?

It makes us look again at what it was that Zoe said. She went out of the room saying 'oh god look what I'm wearing'. She is calling attention to her clothes, complainingly. She implies that they aren't putting her in a good light.

So we might then hear Lyn's 'you look like Fagin' to be a teasing comment on Zoe's display of self-consciousness (or her dress sense?).

How does Zoe react? If she understands Lyn to be teasing her, perhaps she'll do what Drew reports is usually (but not always) done in such cases. That is, respond at first lightly, but ultimately with what Drew calls a 'po-faced' response ('po-faced' is I think a Britishism: it means a slightly sour facial expression).  

That certainly happens in the example we saw above.  Roger does join in the fun, momentarily. But he finishes off by rejecting the tease sternly (line 9).

Zoe's po-faced receipt.

That pattern, of initial laughter shading into 'crossness' and rejection, is just what happens in Zoe's case. Here are the relevant lines again:

[Lyn & Zoe T5 35]
35Lyn=you look like (.) ↑Fa:gin
36 (.5) 
37→Zoe eh HUHh HAhh h[ahh
38Lyn               [>heh hah hh< (.) ↑H=
39 ((squeaky at end))
40→Zoe =w' maybe I am.
41Lyny' just need th' little gloves, with
42 th' ↑fingers out.
43 (.8)
44→Zoe (°ve'y funny°)
45 (1.2)
46Zoe (°d'y wan' one.°)

Zoe does laugh, at line 37. But she counters Lyn's implicit tease about her vanity with a combative 'well maybe I am'. Lynn extends the joke and makes the reference to clothing still more obvious (y' just need the little gloves with the fingers out'). At this point Zoe drops her light-hearted response utterly. She pauses for nearly a second, then issues a classic 'po-faced' piece of grumpiness: "ve'y funny". And then she changes the subject, offering her mother a cigarette.

So Zoe and Lyn play out a tease in just the way Drew's CA work has identified as a regular pattern. How does that help us?

Deviant identity?

Drew observes that the tease sets the teased person up as having a rather undesirable qualities - a sexual deviant, perhaps, in the example from his work we saw above (someone whose distinctiveness is that he 'jacks off in his chair'). To work, to be 'close to the bone', this has to be reasonably plausible or well-founded, otherwise it would make no sense or miss the mark. You couldn't, say, tease a swimmer about her achievements at cycling. She could just shrug it off as being irrelevant.

So we might see Lyn as implying that the 'truth' of the tease is relevant and not to be shrugged off.  She attributes Zoe with the identity of 'Fagin', and makes it clear that this person is someone whose clothes are questionable (or worse). The implication is that this 'close to the bone' - that Zoe could, in fact, be seriously accused of carelessness in how she dresses.

There is a lot more to be said, but let's draw a line there.

If we've got this far, we'll have followed Drew's ideas to reach a point where we have a candidate analysis of what Lyn and Zoe are doing at just that one point of the episode. We would then combine it with similar analyses of the surrounding talk, and work up a full-blown explication of what is going on in these 60 seconds. We would probably want to recall that Zoe's complaint about her clothes come up in the environment of a challenge she has issued to Lyn to explain why the camera is on, and see what that tells us. And we would want to see what we make of Zoe's choice of a po-faced receipt of the tease, as opposed to a laughing one. 

As you can see, it is very labour intensive. But one can go away satisfied that what one says about the episode is well and truly grounded in what actually happened.

If you would like to see more examples of a CA account of Zoe and Lyn's interaction, you might track down two papers of mine (the details are in the References).