A conversational analysis of the exchange patterns of some legislative proceedings in Osun State House of Assembly

Faloni, Kolade Ezekiel (2013)



The study identified and analysed the turn-taking structure in the language of lawmakers in Osun State House of Assembly (OSHA). It examined the move structure and repair mechanisms in their conversational acts. It also described the semantic and pragmatic functions of the exchange features of the conversation. This was with a view to explicating the exchange patterns in the legislative proceedings in the state House of Assembly. The study employed both primary and secondary sources of data collection. The primary source comprised four purposively selected proceedings in socio-political and economic matters in the state. These data were collected through observation method, tape and video-recording. The data were transcribed in order to capture both the linguistic and the para-linguistic features of the exchanges in the proceedings. The secondary sources included books, journals and the Internet. The data were analysed using the framework of conversation analysis developed by Pomerantz and Felhr. The results showed that there were series of sequences at the beginning and at the end of the legislators’ sittings which we classified into preliminary, purpose and parting sequence. The study further showed that there were ten different turn-taking structures in OSHA which include: selection by naming (that is, name of the honourable member), selection by naming constituency, selection by naming office, selection by naming relationship, selection by saying “Yes”, selection by “Okay”, selection by constituency and name, selection by questioning, and next speaker self selection. It was also found that the prominent out of these turn-taking structures was selection by naming constituency of the members while selection by “Okay” was rarely used. It further showed that the move structure in OSHA proceedings were intimating, response, feedback, challenging and supporting move. Furthermore, interruptions and overlaps were not common in legislative proceedings because turn-taking was strictly formalised. The study concluded that despite that the exchange patterns in Osun State House of Assembly were strictly regulated, they followed the essential principles of informal political conversations.