Vicky, Anna, and Gloria are very close friends who know each other for a while. One spring day, they gathered together for a lunch to talk about their plans for the spring break and about the life itself.
Gloria is a 22 year-old female, Vicky is 23 years old, and Anna is 24 years old. Vicky and Anna have been friends for 10 years, so they have had lots of ups and downs in their relationship. However, that did not affect their communication much. Indeed, their friendship has become firmer, so they can trust each other the most important secrets without fear that these secrets will be disclosed to any other person. Gloria knows Anna for 6 years. They are close friends as well. Anna introduced Gloria to Vicky. After that, the three girls have become very close to each other; they regularly meet with each other, hang out, and talk about everything and everyone.
The analyzed conversation takes place during the lunch. The girls are just off from school and have met for lunch. The spring break is approaching. During the spring break, Vicky wants to visit San Francisco. She has visited websites of different Airline companies to compare the airfare to find the cheapest one. So, the girls are talking about the reason why the airlines sell the tickets at different prices on different days and what affects this. They are also discussing what day is the most appropriate for returning from the spring break. Girls are also gossiping about Monique, the other girl who does not take part in the conversation.
When a person, especially if it is a girl, plans her vacation, she always takes into consideration all details, even the smallest ones. Girls must be sure that nothing is forgotten and that everything is calculated and counted, including force majeure circumstances. The three friends are also discussing their exams, whether they should visit classes or not, when it is the right time to buy tickets, and why exactly that time is more appropriate than the other. As they are having lunch, they also talk about meal and what kind of meal they should eat.
Every girl likes gossiping. And the following conversation also touches upon the discussion of another girl. The girls talk about her boyfriend, who has another nationality, and mock his ridiculous name. They are arguing about her beauty and the standard of beauty comparing her beauty with the commonly accepted standards. The theme of the girl’s intelligence can be also traced during the conversation.
Communication is very important in human life. The basic human need for communication can be traced to the process of mankind’s evolution from the lower species. Especially this can be related to the present days of informational progress. Nowadays, in order to succeed, it is necessary to possess information and be aware where and how to apply it.
According to Warren (2006), “there is no widely accepted definition of conversation as a speech event” (p. 6). For many years, scholars have been arguing about the precise definition of the term ‘conversation’. Some of them claim that this definition is too vague because it can be used to describe any speech.
The purpose of the given assignment is to analyze the conversation of the three girls and apply the principles of conversation in the following research.
Hutchby and Wooffitt stated that, “conversation analysis is the study of talk. To put it in slightly more complex terms, it is the systematic analysis of the talk produced in everyday situations of human interaction: talk-in-interaction” (p. 11). Communication can be divided into verbal and written. Steinberg stated that, “verbal communication refers to spoken or written signs called words which make up a particular language. Nonverbal communication refers to all human communication that does not use written or spoken signs such as a smile and others” (p. 41).
The given transcription refers to verbal communication, which will be considered in the study. Our spoken words have a great impact on people’s lives as the words can encourage people to take over and complete the tasks that seem beyond their ability. We talk to people for many purposes. We may talk in order to get acquainted with a newcomer, or to warn a person about his or her misbehavior, etc. The following principles can be related to the effective verbal communication: laugher, speech errors and gossip.
Girls are gossiping about Monique who does not take part in the conversation. Since Monique is not able to hear the girls’ speech and their intonation, she cannot evaluate whether it is a joke or whether that conversation bears a more serious intention to offend that girl. We can trace their laughing in the background during the whole conversation. This can tell a lot about the girls’ intentions. On the one hand, it is clear that they have a small talk, which takes place in conditions that are not forced. On the other hand, laughter characterizes mockery of Monique.
001 Vicky What’s the boy’s name?
002 Gloria *[laughing]* TARO!!!
003 Vicky *What?*
004 Anna [laughing] Gen-taro? Kisa [laughing] ra…gi..
005 Vicky [laughing] Stop…I don’t know what you saying
006 Anna [laughing] How do I know how to say this Japanese name?
007 Gloria [laughing] He is TARO. *[laughing]*
008 Anna *[laughing]*
Girls are joking about the name of Monique’s boyfriend. He has another nationality, and that is why his name differs a little from the names of other boys. Gloria begins laughing and the other girls start to do the same.
Laughter is very contagious by itself. It is a common phenomenon when one person talks about something or someone and laughs at the same time. That makes the others who take part in the conversation do the same. Laughter triggers some “chain reaction” that evokes positive emotions in people, even in those which are not involved in a conversation. Escaping contagious laughter is practically impossible for an organism, which is saturated with endorphins during laughter. However, there is no reason to be afraid of contagion. Women’s laughter is considered the most contagious and funny sounding. The secret lies in its very mechanism. As a rule, the girls are laughing with an open mouth and pronounce the sounds of “ha-ha”. That way of laughing shows the greatest sincerity, which, of course, affects the general mood. Females, as a rule, find the joy in every aspect of reality, because their humor is simpler and their laughter is carefree. That is why a lot of girls are considered to be flirtatious. This is not surprising because the mechanism of laughter causes similar expression of emotions.
The message must be conveyed in a proper manner and style so the intended listener could understand it. The girls’ conversation was accompanied by the constant laughter. People often talk in that manner as it helps to relax and adapt to the mood of those with whom they are having the conversation. The girls were discussing the airfare, having lunch, talking about their lessons, exams, and plans for the spring break, and gossiping about Monique. In case of arguing the airfare and discussing the lessons and plans for the spring break, this pattern of behavior is very useful. It helps to build communication in the form of a game. Such way of communication helps to achieve common goals, such as to choose the cheapest ticket for Vicky’s future trip to San Francisco. It can be traced in their conversation:
001 Anna Oh…why don’ you see the price of Southwest?
002 Vicky What? Who wanna take Southwest?
003 Anna No..Southwest is kinda cheap
004 Vicky No..the cheapest one is Virgin and the second cheap is AA
005 Anna Uh…You didn’t see their official website?
006 Vicky I did, but the Virgin one is the same price..59 is already cheap
007 Anna Or I help you to search for Southwest now
008 Vicky Oh..sure..let’s see
This conversation reflects Anna’s intentions to help Vicky find the cheapest ticket for her vacation. Many interjections such as “oh” and “uh” are used. This helps Anna to find the most appropriate way to express her impression of the following situation and not to affect Vicky’s ability to find the cheapest ticket. This is a kind of game, where the participants talk to each other in a friendly manner, trying to convey the necessary message to the recipient. Anna keeps asking Vicky about different opportunities of finding the desired information, and she does it softly involuntary using such expressions as “oh” and “uh”. As a result, Vicky perceives information in a proper manner and reciprocates using “Oh..sure..let’s see”, showing acceptance. It is also very important to mention the tone with which Anna is asking Vicky about that as it should be not too high, rude or overwhelming. “Oh” and “uh” help to mitigate questions and minimize misperception.
However, physical and socio-psychological barriers can be an obstacle to a full understanding of the whole picture. Poor grammar and punctuation are also referred to language barriers. A lack of vocabulary makes our report more complicated, which can lead to ineffective impression of the listener. Words have different associative and specific reflections in conversation. In order to present information clearly and concisely, the communicator must be able to identify the differences in those definitions and use them in a proper manner during the conversation. Poor knowledge of grammar is also a barrier to verbal communication. The girls’ conversation is full of mistakes such as “O..You right…”, “…you only have have night classes…”, “…cause the TA don’t take….”, “You still have exam?”, “…Monique calls me today…”, “…a boy who is Korean, no, I mean Japanese…” It is obvious that girls can understand each other on the nonverbal level. The girls may not pay attention to that little aspect; however, people inadvertently get used to the manner of speaking that they usually have in their daily lives. That may lead to misunderstandings with some people.
It is useless to possess good vocabulary knowledge if the speaker does not know how to use it. It happens that a communicator is not able to create a grammatically correct sentence. In this case, his/her speech will be poor. Besides, knowledge of punctuation is needed for effective communication. Very often, people do not pay much attention to it. Incorrect punctuation can change the whole meaning of the sentence. The absence or displacement of a comma can mislead the reader.
The style of spoken language may be varied. The most frequent word combinations are often reduced and modified in spoken language. Girls use “gonna”, “wanna”, “kinda” and “dunno” instead of using “going to”, “want to”, “kind of” and “do not” while talking. People often do not notice these small details that may lead to misunderstanding of the information which the communicator is trying to present to the recipient. When a person starts talking, the mind does not usually care about accuracy. The main purpose in that situation is to try to give the information in the shortest time. Time is a valuable thing, so it is very important to use that timeframe that is given to the communicator in a proper manner. That is the reason why speech errors usually occur.
Physical barriers are time, age, and sex. Depending on how often people meet each other to hang out and talk about their lives, we can define whether they are close or not. This also affects people’s general impression of any theme that the person who gives information is talking about. That makes time one of the most important principles of communication. If girls stay away from each other for a long time, it may create a communication gap between them, which may affect their relationship. The three girls are very close friends who communicate with each other on a regular basis and share their problems.
Age and sex are also very important in the perception of information. We have the three girls whose age range from 22 year to 24 years. This period is characterized by incomplete formation of personality. Due to this, people can make lots of mistakes in those years. They can both intentionally and unintentionally offend people without thinking of the consequences. People are often afraid of standing out of the crowd, which may make the person either lose his/her personal opinion or do not cultivate it as it is much easier because the society already thinks for the person. Thus, people are divided into groups according to the way of thinking, way of life, social characteristics, etc. The girls are gossiping about Monique’s life:
001 Vicky Hey, I forgot to tell y’all ..Moniqie calls me today, she said can you come to
library? Then I ask her where she is. Then she said I have some accounting
assignment have to hand in today, but I dunno how to do
002 Anna Then?
003 Vicky Then I went to the library. There was a boy sat next to her.
004 Anna Uh…actually I don’t think she is pretty.
005 Gloria Yes..I don’t think she is sooo pretty ..She is pretty, you know, but now super
006 Anna I think she is just normal..not make me like Wow.. She is pretty.
007 Vicky Yea..she is not the type of girls that we think pretty. She’s just dress elegantly.
008 Gloria *ya yea yea…*
009 Anna You said she..she.. Uh..I think she is just normal. Her face..um..I dunno..like like
the old singers..
010 Vicky *[laughing]*
011 Gloria *[laughing]*
Girls are talking about Monique’s beauty and claim that she looks like an ordinary girl without extraordinary appearance. They compare her face with the faces of the old singers, laughing at the same time. A tendency can be observed that one girl’s opinion converges with the opinion of the other girls. It is a usual situation for girls to talk much about everything and everyone. Girls like to talk a lot, arguing about the psychological nature of the relationship between men and women, discussing the manner of dressing and appearance of another girl, especially, if that girl looks and dresses much better than those who take part in conversation. It is interesting that when girls are talking about the other girl who is more beautiful, dresses elegant, and acts like a real lady, they immediately begin to find her disadvantages, come up with different gossips about her and her surroundings, and evaluate her mental qualities. Such manifestations of human perceptions are related to socio-psychological barriers in human relationships. Among them we can allocate perception of reality, closed-mindedness, and emotions.
Thus, the given assignment allows revealing the basic principles of conversation and evaluating their effect during the conversation. Lots of factors influence the communication and affect the recipient’s perception. The following assignment discloses the conversation between the three girls whose friendship is strong and long. The perception of the given information depends mostly on such principles as age and sex of the communicators, what social environment they have, what impressions are used to express the message, and what is the final purpose of the conversation. The given conversation between the girls helps to understand that girls gather together to talk about the most important issues at the moment, such as their plans for the spring break along with discussing the most appropriate airfare for Vicky’s vacation and gossiping about Monique, a girl who does not take part in the conversation. The way girls are talking about all those things allows tracing different effects of the perception of the given information. Their expressions signify their immaturity, and the mistakes that they make show the lack of their vocabulary. Verbal and nonverbal communication can tell a lot about a person in general. The principles of communication play an enormous role in peoples’ lives. It is necessary not only to know the, but also to learn to apply all those principles in conversation as it depends only on the person how those principles will affect his/her future life.