Conversation Along the Past Recent Research Proposal

Excerpt from Research Proposal :

In this instance then, the face and politeness phenomena become of crucial importance. Since the conversations in phone call centers are not conducted face-to-face, the most important aspect becomes the politeness (Stembrouck, 2006). This is vital for complete customer satisfaction and can be identified and corrected through discourse analyses.

All in all, the employees at the call center have the ultimate purpose of transferring data to the customers in a way that is both polite and informative. The discourse analysis conducted on the pre-recorded phone calls is a useful means of monitoring the communication between employee and customer. It allows the corporate management to identify any shortages in communication, resulting in customer dissatisfaction. The conversational analysis is a helpful approach to identifying internal problems and resolving them in a way that increases customer satisfaction and organizational revenues.

4. Types of Discourse Analyses and their Applications

As established in the previous pages, it is quite difficult to offer a generally accepted definition of the discourse analysis. Similarly, it is quite difficult to achieve a clear delimitation of the adherent types of conversational analysis. However, a particular type could be defined as a class of written or spoken communication, which is easily understood and perceived once it is recognized and which aims to produce potential responses (Cook, 1990). The most relevant types of discourse are given by the manner in which information is being communicated, that is written or spoken. Subsequently, the most relevant types of discourse analysis are spoken language analysis and the analysis of the written texts.

4.1 Written and Spoken Discourse

The most obvious difference between the two types of discourse is the actual form of communication and the manners in which the pieces of information are being delivered. While the spoken communication only implies the verbalization of the data into thin air, the written discourse implies putting the data on hard support, such as paper or electronic devices. This situation is probably the most relevant materialization of the Latin proverb Verba Volent, Scripta Manent, or Spoken words blow with the wind - but what is written will remain (Pliny the Librarian, 2005).

Another difference between the two types of discourse is that while spoken communication is sometimes based on impulse, written discourse is more calculated. Then, with the spoken communication, the body language interferes, and gestures or pauses could be interpreted in various manners. Then, since the speaker is often familiar with the audience, he can support his ideas with gestures or the usage of slang vocabulary. This does not occur in written communications. However, written discourse has the advantage that it can use formulas, tables or other such techniques to better communicate the thought to the recipients (Crystal, 1995).

The two types however are no as straightforward as one could expect, and they get often combined. The most relevant example in this sense is given by Kamil Wisniewski (2006). He presents the instance of a teacher giving a lecture and helping his communication by writing pieces of information of the blackboard. Then, there is also the example of a student preparing notes for a speech he is to give in front of his class mates. Both instances reveal the mixture of written and spoken discourses and their dual applications.

Spoken Language Analysis

The analysis of spoken discourse first commenced at the University of Birmingham and was based on the teacher - student interactions. The scholars then took one step ahead and generalized the results. The analysis revealed that there are common features present in most communities, such as the signals used to commence or end a verbal communication.

Politeness and framing are also analyzed in spoken communications and they reveal the nature of the discourse and the time each speaker can take turn in presenting their thoughts (Wisniewski, 2006).

The application of spoken language analysis is extremely wide and present in all societies and social groups. In the educational context for instance, students listen to the teacher and take turns in posing or answering questions. In the business community, namely the call center organization, the analysis of the verbal discourse allows managers to identify how the employees treat and respond to the needs of customers. The particular consequence of this application is that the leaders of the organization will be better able to develop and implement strategies that improve the communication with the corporate clients.

Written Text Analysis

The analysis of written discourse is based on more evidence, can retrieve more complex results and is therefore of interest to wider scholars, not just linguists. Each analyst of written texts looks for the information that is vital for him and interprets this information in the desired context. An English teacher will for instance asses the grammatical correctness of a paper, whereas a human resource manager will place increased emphasis on the strategies that increase employee performance. As a result, it can then be said that the applications of the written texts analysis are extremely wide and present in all social groups, with various applications from basic learning to professional formation.

4.2 Form-Function and Language-Context Analysis primary aim of any discourse analysis is to identify the actual meaning of the information delivered by the speaker or the writer. In terms of meaning then, there are two types of analyses. The first of them is based on the identification of the general correlations between structure (form) and meaning (function). The second type of analysis is centred on the identification of more specific interactions between language and context (Gee, 2005)


Form in understood, from a linguistic standpoint, as any structural aspect of a sentence, such as verb, a noun, a type of clause used or various types of phrases used in the formation of a sentence. In terms of function, this refers to the meaning a form can generate upon the readers or the listeners. In other words, linguists implement this particular type of discourse analysis to identify the function each form is expected to meet.

At a fundamental level, all types of discourse analysis involve form-function matching. Of course, different approaches to discourse analysis have different view-points on how to talk about form and function. For instance, some approaches have an expanded notion of form in which not only grammatical and cross-sentence patters are considered, but, also, things like pausing, repetitions, repairs, eye-gaze, speech rate, and timing of turn taking. Each of these are, in turn, related to various functions they serve in interaction" (Gee, 2005) particular application of the form-function analysis can be revealed within the call center of a for-profit organization. Given that the interaction between employee and customer is achieved via telephone, the eye contact or other features of the body language are rather irrelevant. The tone of the conversation, the amounts of information contained in the discussion and the politeness of the call center agent are all features revealing the potential outcome of the operations.

Language-Context Analysis discourse can also be analysed from the standpoint of language and context. This basically implies that the information is being delivered in a certain context that influences the discourse. The context can refer to features such as the language used, persons present, the knowledge and beliefs of the people listening or reading the discourse, the social relationship of these people, "and their ethnic, gendered, and sexual identities, as well as cultural, historical, and institutional factors" (Gee, 2005).

The aim of this type of analysis then is to study the discourse in terms of language and context in order to identify the type of communication and the relationship between the parties involved in the discourse. The most relevant example in this sense refers to the analysis's ability to differentiate between formal and informal discourses. The formal discourse reveals a wide vocabulary and the usage of words deriving from Latin. It also revolves around presenting the information delivered in a literary way as to generate an effect upon the audience. Formal discourse is stricter and makes use of the passive voice, rather than the active voice. The informal discourses are governed by fewer regulations; they can present slang vocabulary, references to the first person, personal feelings and beliefs and generally use the active voice (Wisniewski, 2006).

Whichever the type of analysis implemented by an institution, the study of discourses has three ultimate applications: it teaches grammar, it teaches vocabulary and it teaches text interpretations (Wisniewski, 2006). These three features are vital for the success of any individual, but also for the ultimate success of corporate entities. In this particular instance then, organizations implement discourse analyses to identify any communication problems their employees might encounter. They then search for alternative methods to resolving the shortcomings and transforming them into organizational strengths that increase employee performances, customer satisfaction and consequently organizational revenues.

5. Importance of Customer Centricity

As revealed above, discourse analysis finds a relevant meaning in the context of the business operations. Among its business application, a most important…

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