The fundamental site for language use is conversation, spontaneous dialogue among two or more people. Although conversations are created from utterances, they are more than the sum of their parts. Let us return to the telephone conversation discussed in Chapter 7(8.11.851):
Jane: (rings C's telephone)
Kate: Miss Pink's office – hello
Jane: hello, is Miss Pink in.
Kate: well, she's in, but she's engaged at the moment, who is it?
Jane: oh it's Professor Worth's secretary, from Pan-American College
Jane: could you give her a message *forme*
Jane: u:m Professor Worth said that, if. Miss Pink runs into difficulties,. on Monday afternoon,. with the standing subcommittee,. over the item on Miss Panoff, —
Kate: Miss Panoff?
Jane: yes ,that Professor Worth would bewith Mr Milesall afternoon, – so she only had to go round and collect him if she needed him, —
Kate: ah, — thankyou very much indeed,
Kate: Panoff, right *you* are
Kate: I'll tell her, *(2 to 3 syllables)*
Kate: bye bye
Here Jane and Kate complete one main task, passing a message from Professor Worth to Miss Pink. They do this through a series of smaller sections – opening the conversation, exchanging information about Pink, exchanging the message from Worth, and closing the conversation. They complete each section by means of adjacency pairs (e.g., questions and answers), and complete each adjacency pair turn by turn. Viewed as a whole, the conversation consists of a hierarchy of parts: conversation, sections, adjacency pairs, and turns.