CA tutorial: Transcription transcript 3

What is CA?

This tutorial

Audio & video files

Why record?

What to transcribe?

    transcript 1

    transcript 2

    transcript 3

    pros & cons

    transcript 4


What is analysis?

    analysis 1

    analysis 2



Anonymising data

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Transcript 3

Describing the scene

So far we have seen a very crude transcript (transcript 1), and one that begins to include some of the details of the talk (transcript 2). 

Now we can ask: How much description of non-spoken material do we put in? There is no simple answer. But consider this attempt.

[Lyn & Zoe T3, 1]
1 Lyn ((at table with papers))
2   ((door?)) ((faintly, off camera))
3   (pause)
4 Lyn [[looks up and over her shoulder 
5   towards door; holds gaze while 
6   scratching cheek; looks down again]]
7 Zoe ((off camera)) Mum?
8 Lyn hello [[gaze stays down]]
9   (3 sec)
10   [[at end of which she orientates
10   upper body towards door]]
11 Lyn I'm here
12   (brief pause)
13 Zoe okay 
14 Lyn ((coughs/clears throat))
15   [[off camera: three ?crockery bangs]]
16   (pause)
17   ((door handle opening))
18 Zoe hello ((door handle snaps back))
19   [[Zoe's head appears round the wall
20   orienting towards Lyn]]
21   [[Zoe comes into room and looks 
22   towards interior, away from Lyn]]
23 Lyn hi (brief pause)
24   [[looking down throughout]]
25 Zoe where's the cigarettes
26   [[Zoe looks towards Lyn]]
27   ((door shuts))
28   (pause)
29 Lyn °in the° ­kitchen:
30   (long pause)[[in which Zoe comes 
31   towards the table, to stand 
32   facing Lyn and off camera, at which 
33   point Lyn looks up with 'frozen' 
34   expression then fixed grin]]
35 Zoe the camera's on
36 Lyn yes (brief pause)
37   [[one nod while maintaining gaze & 
38   fixed grin, lips open]]
39 Zoe are you talking to it while you WORK?
40 Lyn no (brief pause) heh heh
41 Zoe what you DOING then
42 Lyn hahh hahh hahh [[looks down]]
43   (pause)
44   [[Zoe starts to move off]]
45 Zoe what's the point
46   [[moves out off camera into kitchen,
47   Lyn looks towards her as she passes ,
48   by, combs hand through hair]]
49   (pause)
50 Zoe [[off camera]]
51   oh god look what I'm wearing

This version now includes a great many physical descriptions. Three questions would worry Conversation Analysts:

  • is turning movement and expression into descriptions as accurate as writing down sounds as words?

  • can we be sure our descriptions are impartial?

  • can they be complete?

Too much?

Can we justify all of those additional scenic touches? If not, why not?

The next page ("discussion") is a chance to review where we've got to, before we go on to settle on a transcript we can use for analysis.