Goodwin Corpus

Charles Goodwin (1943-2018)
Applied Linguistics

Participants: 1
Type of Study: conversations
Location: USA
Media type: video
DOI: doi:10.21415/T5Q310

Browsable transcripts

Downloadable Transcripts

Downloadable Video

Citation information

Goodwin, C. (2013). The co-operative, transformative organization of human action and knowledge. Journal of Pragmatics, 46(1), 8-23.

Goodwin, C. (2014). The intelligibility of gesture within a framework of co-operative action. From gesture in conversation to visible action as utterance: Essays in honor of Adam Kendon, 199-219.

Goodwin, C. (2010). Constructing meaning through prosody in aphasia. In D. Barth-Weingarten, E. Reber, & M. Selting (Eds.), Prosody in interaction (pp. 373-394). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Goodwin, C. (2015). Narrative as talk‐in‐interaction. In A. de Fina & A. Georgakopoulou (Eds.), The handbook of narrative analysis (pp. 197).

General Overview

Basically, I am interested in what Chil’s condition says about human action and language in general, rather than a focus on aphasia per se. For example I think it offers a strong challenge to the notion that language consists in the construction of complex arrangements of symbols by a single individual, something that clearly Chil can’t do. Instead inhabiting the world constituted through language, or indeed being a speaker, is constituted through participation in the interactive field shaped by human language use. This also calls into question notions of full fledged “competence” as an analytic point of departure, something that can apply to many kinds of actors other than those with aphasia, young children for example.

In my current work (my Journal of Pragmatics article on Transformative Actions deals a bit with this) I see language as emerging from, and helping to constitute, what I call co-operative action — building new action by performing operations on, and re-using with transformation, unfolding substrates placed in a public domain by others. Chil’s hijacking of the semantics provided by another’s utterance, but transforming its meaning with different prosody in the Transformation Action, is one example. Chil’s ability to make meaning with almost no vocabulary provides a strong demonstration of the central place that language occupies in human social life, action etc. I see human beings building action, etc. within multi-party interactive fields in which actors with different abilities, resources, etc. can make differentiated contributions to the emerging organization of action. I think that what Chil does provides a tragic natural experiment that forces us, or at least me, to rethink what human language is, and what it means to inhabit with others a world shaped through language, but not only language — also tools, historically constituted settings, worlds shaped and known with others, etc.

The corpus includes 3 videos and transcripts of a person with aphasia involved in a naturalistic conversation with others.