Revisiting Goffman’s postulates on participant statuses in verbal interaction
Goffman’s work on participation marks a watershed in linguistic studies on speaker and hearer roles in interaction, both in everyday conversations and in media discourse. Goffman is thus widely credited for having expanded the dyadic (speaker – hearer) model of communication. Albeit not elaborated in detail, his classification of speaker roles, as well as listeners, the latter divided into ratified hearers (addressed and unaddressed recipients) and unratified hearers (bystanders, overhearers and eavesdroppers), is the departure point for various classifications of participants propounded by contemporary researchers. This article proposes an exegesis of Goffman’s work on participation, typified by talk, a strand which reverberates in his essays devoted to distinct topics, with special attention paid to non-speaking participant statuses. Only a bird’s-eye-view approach to Goffman’s writings guarantees a full picture of his conceptualisation of multi-party verbal encounters.