1.  (a) What question inevitably arises in enterprises involving talk?  (b) What is a speech exchange system?  (c) Give examples of speech exchange systems in which aspects of the speaking turns are fixed in advance.  What aspects of the turns are fixed in these systems?  (d) Is the order, length, and content of turns in conversation fixed in advance?

2.  (a) How are conversational turns constructed?  Can turns be constructed out of various sizes of talk units?  Give examples of these talk units.  (b) Can participants project where turns construction units can end?  What is a transition relevance place (TRP)?  Do turns always end at TRPs?  (c) How do people display that they are oriented to (recognize the force of) the rule that one person talks at a time?  (d) What means do we have to allocate turns so that only one person speaks at a time?  What are the three techniques for allocating turns?  Describe the priority ordering of these techniques.  (e) Why does the turn allocation system encourage quick starting by listeners?  (f) How are actual and potential turn endings distinguished?

3.  (a) What is a gap?  What is an overlap?  What is an interruption?  (b) How does the turn allocation system function to minimize gaps and overlaps at points of speaker change?  (c) What does it mean to say that overlap is generally localized at TRPs?

4.  (a) What is a turn extension device?  (b) Why are turn extension devices helpful for speakers?  When would a speaker want to use a turn extension device?  (c) What is a story preface?

5.  (a) What is the definition of an adjacency pair?  (b) Identify and explain the three facets of conditional relevance.  (c) Explain how a question-answer sequence is an adjacency pair.  (d) What is official absence?  (e) Explain how an offer-acceptance/refusal sequence is an adjacency pair.  (f) Explain how, following an FPP, participants orient to the production of a relevant SPP.  How do participants hear the utterance that follows a FPP?

6.  (a) What is an insertion sequence?  Provide examples.  (b) Can a SPP be separated from its FPP or does it always have to be adjacent (that is, right next to it)?  (c) What is a presequence?  What is a pre?  Provide examples.  (d) What are the two jobs presequences do?
7.  (a) What is a greeting-greeting adjacency pair?  (b) Where is the proper place for a greeting-greeting adjacency pair?  Can a greeting-greeting adjacency pair properly be done anywhere other than the beginning of a conversation?  (c) Is a greeting-greeting adjacency pair necessarily a prelude to subsequent talk?

8.  (a) What is a summons-answer adjacency pair?  (b) Is a summons-answer adjacency pair intrinsically a prelude to subsequent talk?   (c) What are the obligations for the summoner and answerer in a summons-answer adjacency pair?  (d) What does a summoner do if no answer is forthcoming?  (e) Explain how the absence of an answer to a summons represents official absence.

9.  (a) Telephone openings often appear to contain a greeting-greeting adjacency pair followed by another greeting.  How can this anomaly be explained?  (b) Describe how a telephone conversation begins with a summon-answer adjacency pair.

10.  (a) Explain why getting conversations to close poses an interactional problem.  How does the turn-taking system create a problem for conversational closings?  (b) What is a closing-closing adjacency pair (terminal sequence)?  (c) How are closing-closing adjacency pairs set up?  (d) What is a pre-closing sequence (pre-closing adjacency pair)?  What is a pre-closing (FPP in a pre-closing sequence)?  (e) What is a passing move?  What is justifying the closing?  (f) What does a pre-closing signal?  Do pre-closings guarantee that the conversation will move to a closing-closing adjacency pair?  (g) Describe the two broad alternative courses of action open to a person after the other person has issued a pre-closing.  (h) Explain how the apparatus of pre-closings and closing-closing adjacency pairs is finely tuned to the requirements of conversation.


1.  (a) Why is the contrast that writing is planned and speaking is unplanned/spontaneous untenable?  Provide examples of spontaneous writing and planned speaking.  (b) Why is the contrast that writing is permanent and speaking is impermanent untenable?  Provide examples of permanent speaking and nonpermanent writing.  (c) Why is the contrast that speaking is interactive but writing is not untenable?  Provide examples of interactive writing and noninteractive speaking.  (d) What is the basis of contrasts such as these (that is, how do they arise)?  Why is this problematic?

2.  (a) What is a logographic writing system?  What is a phonographic writing system?  Provide examples.  (b) What are the two kinds of phonographic writing systems?  (c) What is a syllabic writing system?  What is a syllabary?  (d) What is an alphabetic writing system?  What is an alphabet?

3.  (a) Identify three independent origins of writing.  (b) For the Middle Eastern case, where did writing originally appear?  What type of writing system did the Sumerians have?  What did they write on?  (c) What were tokens used for in Sumer?  How were the tokens transferred between trading partners?  (d) Why were impressions of the tokens pressed into the outside of clay envelopes?  Why did this practice make the tokens unnecessary?  (e) How did the practice of impressing the tokens into the clay envelopes lead to the replacement of the token system by the Sumerian writing system?  (f) Explain how the historical development of the Sumerian writing system suggests that writing evolved rather than being invented.
4.  (a) What is the historical derivation of the English alphabet?  Trace the historical steps that lead from the Sumerian writing system (cuneiform) to the English alphabet.  (b) Identify one general circumstance under which changes appear in a writing system.  (c) Why can a logographic writing system serve as a basis for a phonographic writing system?  (d) Explain two ways in which a logographic system can provide a basis for a phonographic system.  (e) What is a rebus?  (f) Explain the basis of the names for letters in Hebrew.  (g) Why were the logographic characters in early Sumerian writing particularly useful for speakers of other languages?

5.  In order to initially develop a writing system (following contact with an existing writing system), does a community need to borrow (and adapt) that existing writing system?  In such a circumstance, what does a community need in order to develop a writing system?


1.  When did writing start to become more widespread in Europe?  What are the reasons behind this spread of writing?  Why did these elements make reproduction of written materials desirable?

2.  (a) Who is credited with developing (in Europe) the printing press with movable type?  (b) What were the elements that were necessary to develop the printing press with movable type?

3.  (a) What developments did print technology make possible?  (b) Why did mass literacy follow the development of the printing press?  (c) What type of material was primarily printed in the early years following the development of the printing press?  In what language was it printed?  (d) What other types of material followed?

4.  (a) What was the first religious movement to exploit the printing press?  (b) How did the printing press allow the Protestants to put some of their religious beliefs into practice?  How did the Protestants use the printing press?  (c) What was the reaction of the Catholic church to this development?


1.  Explain the connection between the growth of the telegraph and the growth of the railroad in the United States.

2.  (a) Describe the two rival ways the telephone was initially used.  Why did the telephone's use as a broadcast medium fail?  (b) What use did Thomas Edison anticipate for the phonograph?  (c) Who initially used the telephone?  Why were businesses the primary initial customers for telephones?  When did the majority of U.S. households have telephones?  (d) Explain how the telephone made the modern skyscraper possible.

3.  (a) What was radio initially called?  What was the initially-expected application of radio?  (b) Explain the potential economic difficulty of using radio as a broadcast medium.  (c) How did the U.S. deal with the problem of how to pay for radio broadcasting?  What other solutions were considered in the U.S.?  (d) What is a common carrier?  (e) What drives U.S. radio programming?  Why?  (f) How did Great Britain and the former Soviet Union deal with the problem of how to pay for radio broadcasting?  (g) Why did pirate radio stations spring up in Great Britain?  (h) How did the Soviet government deal with the problem of the expense of radios?

4.  (a) Explain the potential economic difficulty of using television as a broadcast medium.  How is this problem similar to the problem faced in the development of radio?  (b) Describe the different solutions that have been used to address this problem (the different arrangements for financing television).  Identify examples of (types of) countries using the various solutions.


1.  (a) Does a communication technology predetermine (foreordain) its uses?  Explain how the examples of printing, the telephone, the phonograph, radio, and television illustrate that a communication technology's use is not predetermined.  (b) Do technologies exist or have effects independent of other technologies?  (c) How do the uses and names of technologies demonstrate that new technologies are thought about against the backdrop of the old?  Provide examples.  (d) How does the development of new technologies demonstrate the complex interplay among technologies?  Explain how the development (in the U.S.) of the telegraph, railways, and newspapers illustrates this interplay.

2.  (a) What is a first-level effect of technology?  (b) What is a second-level effect?  What do second level effects change?

3.  What are the three stages in the evolution of a communication medium?  Describe each stage, and provide examples.


1.  (a) What is culture?  (b) What does it mean to say that cultures are nested in one another?  Explain how every culture is a sub-culture.  (c) Can a person live in more than one culture?  (d) Why is it important to note that cultures are nested within cultures and that a person can live in more than one culture?

2.  (a) In what ways can the linguistic resources of cultures vary?  Provide examples.  (b) What is diglossia?  (c) What is code-switching?  Where can code-switching be found?  (d) Can code-switching occur in a given interactional setting?  Provide examples.  (e) Explain how code-switching can be used as part of identity management.

3.  (a) What is a discourse category?  How do discourse categories vary from culture to culture?  (b) What is a hukum?  What is a fono?  What is aizuchi?

4.  (a) How do behavioral displays vary from culture to culture?  (b) What is an emblem?  What are some examples of cultural variation in emblems?  (c) What is proxemics?  How do proxemics vary from culture to culture?  (d) What is verbal listening behavior?  (e) In what ways do Americans and Japanese characteristically differ in their verbal listening behavior?  (f) How do the elements of verbal listening behavior differ for Japanese and Americans?

5.  (a) Identify two sources of variation within a culture.  (b) Describe four commonalities across cultures.  (c) Identify some cognitive universals.  (d) What universals exist in nonverbal behavior?  (e) Describe common general communicative functions.  (f) Identify culturally common communication maxims.

6.  (a) What is intercultural communication?  Describe some common circumstances in which intercultural communication occurs.  (b) Identify some general sources of communication problems in intercultural interactions.  (c)  Explain how cultural variation in communication practices can be a source of problems in intercultural encounters.  (d) What misunderstandings could arise between Japanese and Americans because of characteristic differences in verbal listening behaviors?  (e) What will the Japanese speaker think of the American listener?  (f) What will the American speaker think of the Japanese listener?

7.  (a) Describe the interview situation (discussed in class and the reading) involving Britons and Asians.  What are the two roles in these interviews?  What is the purpose of these interviews?  (b) Describe the general conceptions of this interaction held by Asians and by Britons.  What are the expectations and actions of Asian clients in this interview?  British clients?  Asian counselors?  British counselors?  (c) Describe how interaction proceeds when the client's and the counselor's viewpoints coincide.  (d) Describe how interaction proceeds when the viewpoints do not coincide.  What happens when there is an Asian client and a British counselor?  What happens when there is a British client and an Asian counselor?  (e) Describe two negative outcomes associated with interviews in which viewpoints are incongruent.

8.  Explain how prejudice can be a source of problems in intercultural encounters.


1.  (a) Identify three natural characteristics of organizations.  (b) What is vertical spread?  What is horizontal spread?  What is geographic spread?  (c) How does the nature of communication within organizations reflect these natural characteristics?

2.  (a) What is vertical communication?  What organizational feature does vertical communication reflect?  (b) What is upward communication?  Describe the common contents of upward communication.  (c) What influences the frequency of upward communication?  (d) Why and how does the subordinate's workload influence the frequency of upward communication?  (e) Why and how does the subordinate's trust in the superior influence the frequency of upward communication?  (f) Why and how does the favorability of the information to the subordinate influence the frequency of upward communication?  (g) What combination of these factors would maximize the frequency of upward communication?  What combination would minimize the frequency of upward communication?

3.  (a) What is upward communication distortion?  What are the potential consequences of upward communication distortion?  What forms can upward communication distortion take?  (b) What factors influence upward communication distortion?  (c) Why and how does the subordinate's trust in the superior influence the distortion of upward communication?  (d) Why and how do the subordinate's aspirations for upward mobility influence the distortion of upward communication?  (e) Why and how does the superior's upward influence affect the distortion of upward communication?  (f) What combination of these factors would maximize the upward distortion of communication?  What combination would minimize distortion?

4.  (a) What is downward communication?  Describe the common content of downward (managerial) communication.  (b) What qualities make for effective managerial communication?  Do the qualities of effective managerial communication vary from situation to situation?  (c) Is increasing the frequency of downward communication always an effective managerial communication strategy?  Explain.

5.  (a) What is a network?  (b) What is a link?  (c) What is a clique?  Explain how a clique is a sub-network.  (d) Identify and describe the network roles of liaison, isolate, and bridge.  (e) What is the relationship between the network structure and the formal structure in an organization?  (f) Identify and describe two uses of network analysis of organizations.

6.  (a) How is the introduction of a new communication technology related to the fact of geographic spread in an organization?  (b) How do the email benefits of accessing remote expertise and supporting cross-location project teams illustrate the connection between the introduction of new communication technologies and the geographic spread in an organization?  (c) How does the introduction of email have consequences for vertical communication and communication networks?



1. Describe two ways in which, in physician-patient interactions, physicians can move from the business of the enounter to the closing (two "business-preclosing" sequences)? How and why does each make it easy or difficult for patients to mention new problems before the interaction ends?
2. (a) What is the first-topic slot?  (b) What is a reason-for-call (RFC) and a RFC event?  (c) What are first-topic slot rights?  Who has these rights?  (d) Is the first thing that gets talked about the first topic?  Why or why not?  How do telephone conversation participants orient to the first-topic slot?  (e) Where does the RFC commonly go?  Does the RFC always have to be in the first-topic slot?  (f) What are RFC and non-RFC relationships?

Electronic media
1.  (a) What were the implications/benefits of e-mail (electronic mail) at Xerox?  (b) What were the unanticipated consequences of e-mail at Xerox?

Communication media (generally):
1.  (a) Are the effects of a technology easy to foresee?  (b) Are unanticipated consequences generally concerned more with first-level or with second-level effects?  (c) Do second-level effects commonly emerge slowly?  (d) Are second-level effects the result of autonomous operation of technologies on passive organizations?

Culture and communication:
1.  (a) What are the different means that Japanese and Americans use to elicit verbal listening behavior?  (b) How does the degree of variation by a given listener in verbal listening behavior differ for Japanese and Americans? (c) How is the placement of verbal listening behaviors different for Americans and Japanese?
2.  (a) What are the two specific circumstances in which negative outcomes are likely in intercultural encounters such as British storefront interviews?  (b) What is the recommended focus for training programs designed to minimize these problems?
3.  (a)  Describe the possible responses of an adult to an incomprehensible utterance from a child.  (b) Do all cultures prefer the same response?  Elaborate.

Organizational communication:
1.  (a) What is openness in downward communication?  Is openness in downward communication always an effective managerial communication strategy?  Explain.  (b) What is the contingency perspective on openness of managerial communication?  Identify and describe four types of contingencies that can influence the desirability of openness in a given circumstance.