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Re: [xmca] Is IRE Really Individually Oriented?

I am afraid that the article has not been posted yet, David. Holiday
intervened with end of voting.

Your questions are very well motivated. And, just to make sure we have full
participation, I will alert the authors to that the paper is going to be
discussed. And Gordon Wells, who has his own bones to pick with the IRE
formulation and Bud Mehan who is the usual citation as the old gimper of the

On Fri, Nov 27, 2009 at 3:25 PM, David Kellogg <vaughndogblack@yahoo.com>wrote:

> I don't know how many people have access to the new article for discussion
> (Gratier, Geenfield and Isaac). But I was reading it over last night and
> wondering.
> The authors say (on p. 200) that Initiate-Response-(Ostensibly Optional
> Feedback, of which Evaluate is a common form) is a discourse format that
> "suits" individualistic cultural emphasis.
> I have two qualms about this statement. The first is that I wonder to what
> extend IRF (or IRE) is simply an artefact of analysis: ANYTHING said as a
> "starter" in an exchange constitutes an initiate and almost anything in
> response to the implicit demands in the starter is a response, with the
> optional feedback being either:
> a) a response to the response (tacit communicative style)
> b) an evaluation of the felicity of the exchange as a whole (more explicit)
> Defined this way, I have found instances of IRE in almost EVERY sample of
> discourse I have ever analyzed, and I'm not at all sure that  it is more
> common in classroom situations than elsewhere.
> My second qualm is that I don't see any inherent link at all between IRE
> and individualist cultural emphasis. If anything, I would say the opposite
> is true: IRE is well suited to T-Everyone exchanges and T-Anyone exchanges
> and is rather LESS suited to T-Someone exchanges because the uptake on these
> tends to be contingent and specific.
> Is it possible that our feelings about IR(E) are simply a cultural
> prejudice? I don't mean East-West culture; I mean a kind of smaller,
> academic culture which sees IR(E) where it doesn't really exist and which
> sees in this largely imaginary unit of discourse a kind of neo-behaviorism,
> where the E represents the bread offered to our salivating dogs, the pellet
> offered to the pigeons, and the candy offered to the child.
> If that were a true picture of IR(E), why would the E be the OPTIONAL
> element?
> David Kellogg
> Seoul National University of Education
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