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Interactional sociolinguistics is a subdiscipline of linguistics that uses discourse analysis to study how language users create meaning via social interaction.[1] Interactional sociolinguistics was founded by linguistic anthropologist John J. Gumperz.[1][2] Topics of interest include cross-cultural miscommunication, politeness, and framing.

In terms of research methods, interactional sociolinguists analyze audio or video recordings of conversations or other interactions. Analysis focuses not only on linguistic forms such as words and sentences but also on subtle cues such as prosody and register that signal contextual presupposition. These contextualization cues are culturally specific and usually unconscious. When participants in a conversation come from different cultural backgrounds they may not recognize these subtle cues in one another's speech, leading to misunderstanding.[2]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 Tannen, Deborah (2006). Language and culture. In R.W. Fasold and J. Connor Linton (eds.) An Introduction to Language and Linguistics, 343-372. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Gumperz, John J. (1982). Discourse Strategies. Studies in Interactional Sociolinguistics 1. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.