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30 Conversation analysis 3 L: To go uh 5 N: To go under… (p. 3 Definition request 1 L: * 2 N: …what is the meaning of research? Um, study? You study a problem and find an answer. (p. 207) From a participant’s intersubjective perspective, there is no evidence that members orient to these categories as distinct constructs at all. The participants in both these excerpts orient to a need to resolve lexical trouble that occurs in their conversation. 11 Arguably, therefore, the general category of “definition talk,” whose defining organization is ultimately sequential rather than functional, seems better motivated by the data than the two more specific speech acts proposed by Porter.

This section examines the second objection raised by Gass (1998), Kasper (1997) and Long (1997), namely, that CA focuses on language use, not acquisition, thus making it of marginal use to SLA researchers. This objection is clearly prompted by these writers’ fear that if Firth and Wagner’s argument for broadening the present scope of SLA studies were to be widely adopted, it would in effect no longer be SLA studies but a new field called second language studies, which would no longer necessarily be committed to addressing the traditional acquisitional issues of SLA studies as its primary intellectual goal.

As Heritage (1987) remarked: a radical gulf is thus created between rational actions with their self-subsistent reasons and non-rational actions in which the actors’ reasoning is discounted in favour of causal normative explanations of conduct…[The effect of this epistemology is] to marginalize the knowledgeability of social actors to a remarkable degree and to treat the actors, in Garfinkel’s memorable phrase, as ‘judgemental dopes’ (Garfinkel, 1984, p. 68) whose understanding and reasoning in concrete situations of action are irrelevant to an analytical approach to social action, (p.

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