Is there any American on this forum. If there is, would you please help me to solve the following problem. I have put a lot of thoughts on it but still find it so difficult. Thanks in advance
"Ethnography of speaking is very useful form of analysis because it requireds us to pay attention to all aspects of communication, including the way people dress, how they gesture in addition to what they say. Now, I want you to pretend that you have traveled to the USA on a trip. You are in the very large city of Los Angeles. A man in his 50s approaches a man in his 30s. They are on a construction site (where a new building is being built). The younger man is wearing jeans and a t-shirt. He is wearing a yellow hard hat (a helmet that protects his head from falling objects). He is very dirty. The older man is wearing a white dress shirt with long sleeves, a tie, and dress slacks. He is also wearing a hard hat. They greet each other in a friendly manner, shake hands, but soon begin to look at papers and shout at one another. They gesture aggressively. Each man is yelling and shaking his head “no”. Soon they become more quiet; they are both nodding their heads in agreement, slowly. They shake hands in a friendly fashion and the older man leaves the site. Please tell me, using SPEAKING, what might have happened here. I want you to show me a clear analysis of the details fo the interaction and what might have happened."
I'm an American, so I'll give you my interpretation of this paragraph. (Mind you, it's just my opinion.)
On a construction site, that is, a place where a structure is being built, there is usually a definite "class" distinction. The "hard hats", or general laborers, and the "shirts", or the white shirt and tie-wearing executives. The Hard Hats spend their days outdoors actually laying bricks, digging holes, and installing framework. The Shirts spend their days in an air-conditioned office, looking at blueprints and worrying about deadlines. The Shirts have probably contracted with a corporation to build this structure by a certain date and within a certain budget, but they often aren't familiar with the actual physical requirements involved in meeting such a deadline.
In the paragraph you described, it appears that the Hard Hat Foreman (the 30-year-old man in charge of the construction workers) is meeting with the Shirt (the 50-year-old executive). It seems that the construction crew is doing something contrary to what the blueprints specify. Since you asked for a spoken analysis, here is my interpretation:
SHIRT: How are you doing today? Is everything going according to schedule?
HARD HAT: I'm fine, and it looks like we're going to finish a day or two early.
SHIRT (looking at blueprint): Why is your crew placing support beams there? That's not what the drawings call for.
HARD HAT: I've been in this business for 20 years, and I know that if we followed that drawing you have the floor would collapse within a month or two.
SHIRT: I'm the boss here, and you are supposed to follow the blueprints!
HARD HAT: Sir, if you'll just listen for a moment.... you can't build an entire level here without the proper support beams. It defies the laws of physics. If too many people walk upon it, it will collapse, and you'll have a tragedy on your hands.
SHIRT: (thinks about it) Perhaps you're right. Go on with what you're doing, and I'll phone the home office and tell them what you recommended.