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ISSN : 1226-4822(Print)
ISSN : (Online)
The Sociolinguistic Journal of Korea Vol.26 No.2 pp.167-193

Preference Organization as a Characterization Device in TV Sitcoms

Josephine Lee
Assistant Professor, Ewha Womans University


This study employs conversation analysis to examine how preference organization is exploited as a characterization device in the American sitcom, The Big Bang Theory. The analysis shows that by enacting exaggerated and overt forms of preferred actions, the relationship and personalities of the main characters are constructed in a particular light. By focusing on dispreferred turns, and especially the violations of them, the analysis also demonstrates that preference organization is used to configure the main characters as “funnily abnormal nerds” while achieving the sitcom's purpose of providing entertainment and humor. These findings shed light on the workings of fictional dialogue and the specific resources used to accomplish different identity displays of sitcom characters.