Posted by: gdevi | November 12, 2010

Coffee and Cigarettes and Pragmatics

I was covering the rules of “talk-exchanges” and conversations with my linguistics students today in class; we are working on Pragmatics. We were reviewing “conversation rituals” such as “greetings,” “turn-taking,” “closings” etc–the “rules” (or descriptions) of engagement in functional conversations, dysfunctional conversations, disruptive conversations — the whole gamut — when one of my students brought in that very funny scene in Jim Jarmusch’s short film series Coffee and Cigarettes–the one where Iggy Pop meets Tom Waits in a diner– “Somewhere in California.” I had forgotten what a fantastic short that is–it is like a case-book study of conversation rituals. Beautiful! See it here; listen to the exchanges, the topics, the turn-taking, the silences, the pre-closing sequences, the closings. It is almost as if Jarmusch was writing for a linguistics classroom! Thanks Jarmusch! Tom Waits is just wonderful, isn’t he? And what is Iggy’s Pop’s name by the way?

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