Conversation Analysis

Conversation Analysis (CA) is an approach to the study of social interaction and language. Despite its name, the scope of CA is not limited to conversation as a genre of discourse (small talk, gossip) but encompasses any human activity that involves an exchange of turns at talk and other meaningful conduct. CA is committed to the close examination of social interaction in its sequential, forward-feeding development. Interaction unfolds as a chain of initiating and responding actions. This chain is a source of internal evidence for the meaning of social behavior as it exposes the understandings that participants themselves give of what one another is doing. CA’s sequential frame of analysis also shapes the basic questions that guide CA research: what is a participant doing by speaking or moving in a certain way at a given moment? What evidence is there for this in the conduct that precedes, co-occurs with, and follows that stretch of behavior? Such an analysis requires the close and repeated inspection of audio and video recordings of naturally occurring interaction, supported by transcripts and other forms of annotation. Distributional regularities are complemented by a demonstration of participants’ orientation to deviant behavior, which brings to the surface the underlying norms of social interaction.

The CA Working Group continues to foster the growing community of conversation analytic scholars through a facilitation of scholarly exchange between faculty and graduate students within the Department. We are proud of our relations with other Sociology Working Groups and with the broader UCLA community. Our working group continues to attract language and social interaction scholars from a range of allied departments and centers at the University. 

Our primary goal is to establish and strengthen ties between graduate students and faculty working in our field within the Department of Sociology.  At present the CA faculty have a range of courses and data analysis seminars detailing the substance and methodology of conversation analysis. The working group is distinctive in providing a forum in which students can try out ideas for potential publications, showcase their own data sets, and test run relatively developed papers for conferences and symposia.  Correspondingly, the working group provides students and faculty with an opportunity to witness and provide critical feedback on works in progress by faculty and other scholars.

If you want to know more about our upcoming events, don't hesitate to join the CAWG listserv by sending an email to cawg+subscribe (at) lists (dot) ucla (dot) edu. If you encounter an issue signing up, contact us directly

— Spring 2021 Events —

Due to the ongoing COVID 19 pandemic, all scheduled events will take place over Zoom. Kindly sign up to the CAWG listserv in order to receive links and credentials to join the talks. 

May 7, 5:00 PM PT

"Choosing not to respond in everyday conversation:

Evidence from adults with pragmatic communication disorders"

Scott Barnes
Department of Linguistics, Macquarie University

May 20, 5:00 PM PT

Alexandra Tate

The University of Chicago

May 27, 5:00 PM PT

"Can a computer learn language? Assumptions and limitations of text mining"

Alina Arseniev-Koehler
Department of Sociology, UCLA

June 3, 5:00 PM PT

"Managing embodied trouble-sources in game-playing interaction: Evidence from German and English"

Emma Betz
Germanic and Slavic Studies, University of Waterloo

Andrea Golato
Texas State University


This page was last updated on April 2, 2021 at 1:30 PM PT


2020-21 CAWG Coordinators: 

Kristella Montiegel (

Luis Manuel Olguin (

Professor Giovanni Rossi (