Your shopping cart is empty.
Log in


PhS Library 
Issue 2 (December)

































A conversation analysis of dispreferred social acts in the “Notting Hill” film

Ye.S. Mkhitaryan, N.G. Sayadyan
80,00 ₽

UDC 808.5:791   


Mkhitaryan Yelena S.,

Candidate of Philology, Professor of the Romano-Germanic Languages and Methods of their Teaching Department

Abovyan Armenian State Pedagogical University, Yerevan


Sayadyan Nadya G.,

PhD student of the Romano-Germanic Languages and

Methods of their Teaching Department

Abovyan Armenian State Pedagogical University, Yerevan



This study aims to examine types and functions of dispreferred social acts and means of their realizationsin speech. The data of the research are collected from the film transcript of “Notting Hill”, predominantly dialogues between the main characters. The basic method of analysis is Conversation Analysis, which is based on Levinson’s speech act theory and Yule’s patterns of realizations of dispreferred social acts. The results of the research show that out of the six types the dispreferred social acts of question, offer and request can serve as the main types used by the participants of the dialogues. As for the realizations of dispreferred social acts, they occur in both marked and unmarked forms. The marked forms are represented by mitigating devices, prefacing, hesitating, delaying, apologizing, giving an account, changing the topic, silence and tricks / lies. The last device is not mentioned in the previously acknowledged list of marked forms, but it is thanks to it that the scenario of the film develops in a most humorous way, thus verifying the genuine genre of the film as a romantic comedy. The examination of the functions shows that the characters use the marked forms chiefly to provide grounded reason for their refusals and rejections, to avoid the negative consequence of the preceding utterance and focus on the positive side of the dispreferred situation.

Keywords: dispreferred social act, conversational analysis, mitigating device, the marked form, filmscript.


  1. Alvarez-Pereyre M. Using films as linguistic phenomena // Telecinematic Discourse: Approaches to the Language of Film and Television Series. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company, 2011.
  2. Comrie B. Aspect (Cambridge Textbooks in Linguistics). Cambridge: Cambridge University, 1976.
  3. Ebert R. Notting Hill: reviews. URL:
  4. Have P.T. From “Doing conversation analysis: A practical guide”. London: SAGE Publications Ltd., 2007.
  5. Hill W.J. Film studies: Critical approaches. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.
  6. Kurzon D. Silence (Handbooks of Pragmatics). Vol. 2: Speech Actions / M. Sbisà, K. Turner (eds.). Berlin: Mouton De Gruyter, 2013. P. 659–683.
  7. Lerner G.H. Conversation analysis: Studies from the first generation. Amsterdam: John Benjamins B.V., 2004.
  8. Levinson S. Pragmatics (Cambridge Textbooks in Linguistics). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983/2000.
  9. Lavin-Loucks D. Encyclopedia of social measurement. 2005. URL:
  10. Notting Hill. Movie script. 1999. URL: Retrieved on May 20th, 2021.
  11. Purdum J. Discourse analysis: An introduction. 2012. URL:
  12. Sacks H. Conversation analysis. 1974. URL:
  13. Taylor C. The language of film: Copora and statistics in the search for authenticity. 2004.
  14. Telecinematic discourse: Approaches to the language of film and television series. Piazza R., Bednarek M., Rossi F. (eds.). Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company, 2011.
  15. Yule G. Pragmatics. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006.