The exchange in family discourse
Keywords:Family discourse, Corpus Linguistics, Irish family discourse, conversational exchange
The intimate genre of family discourse has traditionally posed problems for linguists because of the difficulty in collecting the data and the intimate nature of the genre. For obvious reasons, people view family life as intensely private and so are unwilling to allow linguists to intrude upon it. This, to a certain extent, would explain the paucity of directly relevant material available. This paper is an attempt to address this lacuna, and perhaps more ambitiously, to provide openings for further study. The paper analyses the structure of the exchange in family discourse in an Irish context. A traditional model of conversational exchange is applied to the data but is seen as unsuitable for the analysis due to factors particular to family talk. However, later work in the area of the exchange brings into relief a clear exchange structure in this discourse, which, on the surface, appears dense and chaotic.