Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Shirley Staske


This study employed a conversation analytic approach to determine how children in naturally constructed play episodes use language as an object of play and how children in their naturally occurring talk display orientation to their own individual activities and others' social actions. The participants were thirty-nine kindergarten and first grade students at South Elementary School in Marshall, Illinois. The study is based upon fifteen hours of conversation collected during recess periods. Relevant segments from the corpus were transcribed according to an adapted version of Jefferson's Transcript Notation System (1984). The findings suggested that (1) the groups of children used language as an object of play to make their play activities more enjoyable for themselves as well as others in naturally constructed settings; (2) it was not uncommon for the children to display in their talk orientation to their own individual line of activity; and (3) the children did orient to others' talk at times and employed specific communicative strategies to solicit their playmates' attention and involvement.