An Ethnography of Communication: Viva Voce in a Ghanaian University
International Journal of Language and Linguistics
Volume 5, Issue 5, September 2017, Pages: 127-134
Received: Jan. 27, 2017; Accepted: May 27, 2017; Published: Aug. 2, 2017
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Isaac Afful, Department of English, University of Cape Coast, Cape Coast, Ghana
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Over the last few decades, researchers have shown much interest in written academic genres to the detriment of spoken academic genres, though spoken genres such as viva voces are quintessential to postgraduate studies and form part of the enculturation process of novice academics. Using the ethnography of communication approach as proposed by Dell Hymes and focusing on setting, participant and act sequence, this paper examined how these elements of ethnography are operative in three recordings of viva voces organised by a department of a university in Ghana. The study revealed that the setting, day, scene, and clothing of participants highlight the formal nature of viva voces, a finding which projects academics as business-minded individuals. Further, it was revealed that the participants of viva voces are usually academics who share similar beliefs and engage in practices cherished by the community of practice. The relationship between candidates and the assessors, was asymmetrical and power-laden as realized though the address terms and lexico-grammatical choices that the candidates make. Finally, the study revealed that the viva voces are organized into four schematic structures. The study makes key contributions to scholarship on postgraduate pedagogy, text construction, and ethnography of communication.
Viva Voce, Ethnography of Communication, Oral Academic Genres, Postgraduate Studies, Discourse Community
To cite this article
Isaac Afful, An Ethnography of Communication: Viva Voce in a Ghanaian University, International Journal of Language and Linguistics. Vol. 5, No. 5, 2017, pp. 127-134. doi: 10.11648/j.ijll.20170505.12
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