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A Conversational Anaysis of Acholi

Researcher: Maren Rüsch
Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Gerrit Dimmendaal

This study provides an insight into conversational strategies applied by Acholi speakers in Gulu, Northern Uganda, during natural speech interaction. Various conversations were documented and analysed regarding their structural organisation, socio-pragmatic features, and non-verbal contributions to everyday conversational encounters.

The interrelation of Conversation Analysis with Acholi language practices offers a bottom-up analysis of speakers’ organisational management of turns, sequences, overlaps and repair, while pragmatic markers, ideophones, and ritual aspects of daily social interaction (among others) were studied in the scope of politeness research. The examination of gestures and paralinguistic features in Acholi interaction reveal the synergy of verbal and non-verbal strategies as social actions. Taking these interdisciplinary findings of language-specific and universal strategies into consideration, the study offers an approach to multidimensional conceptualisation(s) of interactions.