Negotiating Opening and Closing Sequences in Legislative Interactional Discourse


Ayo Ayodele
Oludotun Ayodele


The legislature, as the representatives of diverse interests in society, thrives on interactional cooperation and orderliness expressed in institutionalized procedures and interactive formats. This paper, therefore, is an attempt to characterize the exchange formats that procedurally serve as openings and closings leading to topical shifts and interactional flow in legislative interactional discourse. The discourse analytic perspective adopted in the paper provides the basis for characterizing conversational exchanges as negotiated encounters between interlocutors whose collective aspiration is to produce successful encounters. The research findings reveal that openings and closings within the macro context of a regular legislative sitting mark structural boundaries identifiable as initiation, progression and termination. It is further revealed that the initiation exchange comprises of a framing move consisting of a call, pray and a welcome acts. Within the general structure I [P↔ En] T of the discursive event, exchanges constitutive of topical transitions consist of elements of structure that can be captured as; I R[∅ /(I Rn)]F, while the pattern of moves producing termination exchanges consist of Irm+ Rs F(q+c+a). While revealing that these negotiated patterns serve as frames signposting legislative interactional discourse, the study points the way forward to further investigation of the role of culture and power in the successful enactment of this format.