The lexicogrammatical reflection of interpersonal relationship in conversation

Man Kit Marvin Lam, Jonathan Webster

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


This article reports an attempt to investigate, apart from the semantics and the pragmatics, how much the lexis and the grammar of a conversation can help extract interpersonal information about the interlocutors' orientations towards each other. The discourse analysed was extracted from a scene in Dan Brown's novel The Da Vinci Code and its motion picture adaptation. The adaptation of this scene is similar to the novel original in terms of the characters' content of discussion and only differs in the orientation of the characters to one another. The analysis focuses on the determination of response types, which are generally classified as either expected or discretionary, and contribute to the realization of positive and negative orientations respectively. The distribution of different types of response is visualized as the interlocutor's 'response profile', which helps in the realization of his/her orientation to the one to whom he/she is responding.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-57
Number of pages21
JournalDiscourse Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Adaptation
  • Context of situation
  • Conversation analysis
  • Interpersonal orientation
  • Motion picture
  • Novel

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Communication
  • Anthropology
  • Linguistics and Language


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