By Irene Kacandes
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Additional info for Talk Fiction: Literature and the Talk Explosion (Frontiers of Narrative)
A more elegant deﬁnition of talk in the idiom of conversation analysis characteristically emphasizes interaction and reciprocity: ‘‘Talk is designed to reﬂect back on prior turns and project ahead to future ones, and we interpret talk as if it is tied in some way to prior and future turns’’ (Nofsinger 1991: 3). ’’ Speciﬁcally, conversation analysts deﬁne ‘‘ordinary,’’ ‘‘natural,’’ or ‘‘spontaneous’’ conversation as ‘‘instances of speech exchange organization with variable turn order, turn 3 Secondary Orality size, and turn content peculiar to a given occasion and the participants involved’’ (West and Zimmerman 1982: 515).
Early radio history also provides support for Ong’s claim of selfconsciousness about this new kind of interaction. In contemporary commentator McMeans’s view (1923), radio listeners thought of themselves as an audience ‘‘totally di√erent in several ways from anything before known’’ (as quoted in Douglas 1987: 312). One appreciative listener praised the fact that he could be part of a crowd and yet remain at 12 Secondary Orality home: ‘‘This vast company of listeners . . do not sit packed closely, row on row, in stu√y discomfort endured for the delight of the music.
Of absent addressees’’ (321), an oxymoronic phrase worth pausing over. What makes the talk of broadcast di√erent from ordinary conversation is the physical absence of its addressees. Go√man explains: ‘‘Because talk is learned, developed, and ordinarily practiced in connection with the visual and audible response of immediately present recipients, a radio announcer must inevitably talk as if responsive others were before his eyes and ears’’ (241). To bring this into dialogue with Go√man’s conception of talk reviewed above, the talk of the radio host must display orientation to exchange with absent addressees.