Pilot: “We’re running out of fuel” Air-Traffic-Control: “Okay”. A mini CA-based analysis of the final moments of Avianca flight 52

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On January 25th,1990 Avianca flight 52 flying from Medellín, Colombia to New York crashed around 30 km from John F. Kennedy airport, killing 73 of the 158 people aboard. The official Aircraft Accident Report subsequently concluded that the main causes of the accident were “the failure of the flight crew to adequately manage the airplane’s fuel load, and their failure to communicate an emergency fuel situation to air traffic control before fuel exhaustion occurred” (National Transportation Safety Board: v). Here, I offer a mini conversation analysis (CA) based analysis of some of the final Pilot-Air Traffic Control (ATC) interactions from Avianca flight 52. The audio was recorded on the Cockpit Voice Recorder aka the black box of …

Did Denmark get a new dialect?

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When the Danish news agency Ritzau sent out the announcement: “Researcher: Denmark has a new dialect” on the morning of February 4th, my phone started ringing non-stop from 6:20 am. Several Danish news outlets, radio stations etc., including TV2 News, P1, P2, P3, P4, Radio Nova, Radio 4 and about 50 other media agencies, couldn’t find anything else to cover but the exact same story that everyone else wanted to cover. The news about this “new” dialect even reached Iceland.

The reason for all of this was a short interview in the Danish paper Kristeligt Dagblad where I explained that despite Danish dialects being used less and less, new dialects are simultaneously coming into existence. And that I …

How do learners make use of foreign language learning materials?

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How do learners make use of foreign language learning materials? This was the question that I set out to answer in my ph.d. thesis. Along the way, I learned to use to methods for evaluating usability of a product (think-aloud protocols and constructive interaction), learned how to analyze the results quantitatively (which was scary), and found new ways to look at the data qualitatively (conversation analysis). Especially through detailed qualitative analyses of how our study participants made use of the learning materials in our usability test settings, I learned more about the sequential organization of such sessions, how instructions are realized, and how different visual and other aspects of the learning material drafts were made relevant.

In this blog post, …

The Danish pronoun ‘man’ used as ‘I’ in conversation

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In English, you is both a definite and an indefinite pronoun. This means that speakers can use the same form to refer to a specific person and to refer to someone unspecific, someone in general. In Danish, the pronoun man is used to refer to someone in general, just like the English indefinite you, and the word’s primary meaning, listed in dictionaries and grammars, is this generic function. However, there are instances in the language where man occurs as an indefinite pronoun with self-reference. These instances are only briefly mentioned in the literature and are not described in detail at all.

This blog post is based on a presentation and an article from the 17th MUDS – Møderne …