Looking for action: talk and gaze home position in the airline cockpit
journal contributionposted on 03.05.2017 by Nevile, Maurice
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This paper considers the embodied nature of discourse for a professional work setting. It examines language in interaction in the airline cockpit, and specifically how shifts in pilots eye gaze direction can indicate the action of talk, that is, what talk is doing and its relative contribution to work-in-progress. Looking towards the other pilots face treats talk as occurring outside the predictable and scripted sequential flow of interaction for work. The talk might be casual conversation unrelated to work tasks, or involve negotiation of work arising from locally contingent circumstances. Pilots treat particular sites for looking, cockpit instrument panels and windows, as a home position for gaze for planned and predictable work activity. Looking away from this home position, as either speaker or recipient, treats talk as doing something else. The paper draws on insights and methods of conversation analysis, and uses naturally occurring data, video recordings of pilots at work on actual scheduled passenger flights. Copyright 2010 Maurice Nevile. No part of this article may be reproduced by any means without the written consent of the publisher.