n Journal for Language Teaching = Ijenali Yekufundzisa Lulwimi = Tydskrif vir Taalonderrig - Pre-informational versus pre-debate introductions and story formulations in South African news interview talk : organisational properties

Volume 35, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 0259-9570



In his Conversation Analytic (CA) study of the sequential structure of North American political-news interview openings, Clayman (1991) focuses, among others, on the procedures news interviewers need to employ to set the scene for (i) informational- and (ii) debate-news interview talk. Clayman (1991) contends that the way in which news introductions and story components are constructed determines which of the two types of interview will follow. This research article reports on the discourse findings of an analysis of South African business-news interview talk carried out within Clayman.s (1991) Conversation Analytic framework. The principal aim was to determine whether the organisational properties of pre-informational and pre-debate introductions and story formulations identified by Clayman (1991) were reflected in the South African data. The analysis verified the typicality (generality) of Clayman.s (1991) findings with regard to the organisation of informational news interviews. For this reason, it was argued that the findings might be exploited by language practitioners in the domain of English for Specific Purposes (ESP) to generate communicative and meta-communicative teaching materials for prospective South African news interviewers in the business sphere. Since the analysis revealed a very low incidence of debate-news interview talk, it did not confirm Clayman.s (1991) findings with regard to pre-debate introductions and story components. Possible reasons for this low incidence are considered in the article. An important justification for this study lies therein that, although a few researchers have focused attention on the organisation of South African news interview talk (e.g. Greyling, 1998; Brokensha, 2000a; 2000b; forthcoming), little information is currently available about the components required to assemble South African informational and debate news interviews.

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