Week 7 Workbook Activity – Review – Address terms in the service of other actions

In Steven Clayman’s 2007 paper titled, ‘Address terms in the service of other actions: The case of news interviews talk,1’ he discusses a recurrent practice in news interviews that is intertwined with the roader development in broadcast talk. The main points mentioned throughout paper are listed below.

  • In broadcast news interviews, interviewees will occasionally address the interviewer by name.
  • Broadcast news and public affairs programming has become increasingly interactive over the years with the inclusion of narratives and stories displayed by interviews, panel discussion and audience participation.
  • The personalization practice of an interview, whereby the journalists or interviewer are addressed by name can be seen right at home in the interactive world of new interviews for several reasons.
  • it is consistent with the interviews characteristic framework where interviewers and interviewees address their remarks to each other whilst the media audience remains unaddressed.
  • the pattern of address is intertwined with the institutionalized activity structure of the interview due to the fact the interviews are structured as a question and answer in which the answering talk is normally addressed to the party who asked the question.
  • Address term are deployed recurrently in actions that resist the agenda being pursued through the previous question.
  • Most questions set agendas for response not only at the level of topic but also at the level of the action performed around that topic. Responses that depart from the agenda may be marked with an address term.
  • When conducting an interview, majority of the time some background is in order prior to the question to refrain from disagreements due to several reasons.
    – While questions are formally neutral they can become opinionated when a viewpoint is asserted in the course of building the question, a viewpoint is presupposed by the initial question and the question is built to display a preference.
  • In terms of disaligning responses there is a general tendency for the address to be positioned near the beginning of the turn constructional unit.
  • A general principle is that disaligning responses tend to be delayed with some time lag intervening.
  • Address terms are implicated by actions that are expressive in nature, attuned to the speakers talk rather than prior talk
  • Address terms can be associated with a variety of actions; which can include opinions, feelings, intention etc which are classed as sincere
  • It is not easy to distinguish this term of speaking ‘sincerely’ to other terms such as foregrounding talk, which is, recurrently associated with talk designed to stand out from the background of the turn in progress

1Steven Clayman, “Address Terms in the Service of Other Actions: The Case of News Interview Talk”, (paper presented at the American Sociological Association annual meeting, New York, August 52 -89, 2007).


Clayman, Steven, “Address Terms in the Service of Other Actions: The Case of News Interview Talk”, paper presented at the American Sociological Association annual meeting, New York, August 52 -89, 2007.


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