The book is officially out!

coverThe book is now officially out! (Yeah, more self-promotion–but I can’t help it.)

  • Here’s a post on the publisher’s blog with some additional author description of the book:

  • Link to publisher’s website here.
  • Amazon link here.
  • Google Books link here.


The book is coming! Emotion and Discourse in L2 Narrative Research

Emotion and Discourse in L2 Narrative Research is almost out! Scheduled 11/15 release!  Here’s a link to order a discounted advance copyOrder form

Please circulate it among interested students and colleagues.

I am so excited about this publication. It has been a labor of love and a long time coming. You can read the blurb below. I just saw that it received endorsements from some outstanding scholars whose work I absolutely admire: Kathryn Roulston (University of Georgia, Athens, USA), Bethan Benwell (University of Stirling, UK), and Alexandra Georgakopoulou-Nunes (King’s College London, UK). Wow!!!

I think the dance of joy is definitely in order.

Roulston’s book on Reflective Interviewing, Benwell’s book on Discourse and Identity and edited volume on masculinity, and Georgakopoulou’s single-authored and co-authored works on narrative are my favorites—and highly recommended for teachers, students, and researchers interested in qualitative research methods, discourse analysis, narrative, and identity!



This interdisciplinary book explores the interactional construction and management of emotionality in second language autobiographical interview research. By advancing a discursive constructionist approach, it offers a timely methodological and interaction-based perspective that examines how emotionality is collaboratively managed as both topic and resource within the institutional and interpersonal business of qualitative research. The book weaves together discussions based on first and second language literature as well as original research with adult immigrants from Southeast Asia living in the US and Canada. This book will be of interest to those researching second and foreign language studies, applied linguistics and related bilingual and multilingual research, as well as those interested in qualitative research methods and emotion.

Note: My unofficial tease is that it is probably the only book in applied linguistics and discourse analysis that covers narrative interviews, emotionality, reflexivity, the Bee Gees, discrimination, swear words, negativity, and the erotic aspects of research.

Zebulon Pearce Distinguished Teaching Award

I am honored and excited  to learn that I am a recipient of the 2014-2015  Zebulon Pearce Distinguished Teaching Award. I will be even recognized at the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Convocation Ceremony on May 12, 2015.

According to the university, “This award recognizes quality teaching in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and was established in memory of Zebulon Pearce who graduated from Territorial Normal School at Tempe (now ASU) with teacher’s credentials in 1899.” Here’s some more information on the amazing Zebulon “Zeb” Pearce and the Pearce Family Foundation. Zeb now has his own statue in Mesa. I’ll definitely have to visit and thank him personally.


Not only am I honored to be able to represent the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, I have the opportunity to bring attention to the dedicated faculty and outstanding students in the Department of English. By the way, ASU is named among the top 10 schools for international students and one of the nation’s best for undergraduate education.

ASU’s eight design aspirations help shape how we teach and connect locally and globally:

  1. Leverage Our Place: ASU embraces its culture, socioeconomic and physical setting.
  2. Enable Student Success: ASU is committed to the success of each unique student.
  3. Transform Society: ASU catalyzes social change by being connected to social needs.
  4. Fuse Intellectual Disciplines: ASU creates knowledge by transcending academic disciplines.
  5. Value Entrepreneurship: ASU uses its knowledge and encourages innovation.
  6. Be Socially Embedded: ASU connects with communities through mutually beneficial partnerships.
  7. Conduct Use-Inspired Research: ASU research has purpose and impact.
  8. Engage Globally: ASU engages with people and issues locally, nationally and internationally.

Silverman (2015): Interpreting Qualitative Data

Run out and buy Silverman’s new edition (5th ed.) of Interpreting Qualitative Data.


Not only is it a great book, I just found out he cites my 2014 article. YES!!!!

(Here’s a clip. Check out his book for the whole thing. Or better yet, read the article in Qualitative Inquiry.)

Prior in Silverman 2015

AAAL 2015

AAAL2015 in Toronto was fantastic! Kudos to Paul Matsuda, Program Chair, for a job well done. The quality of the presentations, roundtables, and plenaries was outstanding. It was so good to catch up with dear friends and colleagues–and to make new ones. I now have lots of energy for pushing ahead with my books, articles, and various other projects.

My presentation with Steven Talmy critiquing “Small Stories and Positioning Analysis” was well received and attracted some buzz.

small stories

The panel with Kasper & Ross also attracted attention and received some citations, so we must be doing something right!

Kasper & Ross panel

Keith Richards (the qualitative research superstar, not the musician) even gave me a shout-out in his talk. Woo-hoo!  I’m a big fan of his work, so it’s an honor to have him even say my name.

Re-Examining Alignment in a “Failed” L2 Autobiographic Research Interview

Prior, Matthew T. (2014). Re-examining alignment in a ‘failed’ L2 autobiographic research interview. Qualitative Inquiry, 20(4), 495-508.


Contributing to a “social studies of interview studies,” this article addresses the treatment of “failed” autobiographic interviews. Taking a discursive constructionist approach, the author re-examines a problematic second language (L2) English interview with an immigrant man from Cambodia. Analysis focuses on the interactional management of (mis)alignment and how it contributed to the shape and outcome of the activity. By turning away from failure to accomplishment, and attending to the ways in which interviewee and interviewer use their differential linguistic and cultural expertise as topic and resource, the multi-layered activity takes on a new light that allows recognition of what was understood, shared, and ultimately achieved. The application of these insights for interview practice and analysis are discussed.

Analyzing Storytelling In TESOL Interview Research

Kasper, G., & Matthew T. Prior (published online, May, 2014). Analyzing storytelling in TESOL interview research. TESOL Quarterly.


Autobiographic research interviews have become an accepted and valued method of qualitative inquiry in TESOL and applied linguistics more broadly. In recent discussions surrounding the epistemological treatment of autobiographic stories, TESOL researchers have increasingly called for more attention to the ways in which stories are embedded in interaction and thus are bound up with the social contexts of their production. This paper advances these efforts by demonstrating an empirically grounded approach to storytelling as interaction. Drawing on the research tradition on storytelling in conversation analysis, the article offers a sample analysis of a story produced in an L2 English interview with an adult immigrant in the United States. By engaging sequential conversation analysis, membership categorization analysis, and occasioned semantics, it examines the interactional practices through which the storyteller and story recipient launch, produce, and end the telling of a story that furthers the purpose of the autobiographic interview. By following closely the participants’ coordinated actions as they unfold in time, we trace how the parties accomplish the storytelling as an intelligible and meaningful activity through sequence organization and turn design. We conclude with recommendations for extending storytelling research in TESOL to meet the evolving needs and interests of the field.

You want vocal “fry” with that?


In June, 2014, I was invited to say a few words about vocal fry on the local NPR affiliate, KJZZ. That was a lot of fun. Here’s the link to the broadcast:

Vocal fry (aka glottal fry, creaky voice, froggy voice, glottalization) has been all over the news in recent years:

Although vocal fry tends to be negatively evaluated and associated with young women (e.g., the Kardashians, Britney Spears), it really has a much longer history. Look at any old Hollywood film, and you’ll see vocal fry is rampant in the speech of “tough” female roles (think Bette Davis, Mae West, or Joan Crawford) or evil characters such as the wicked witch in the Wizard of Oz. Of course, vocal fry isn’t always associated with women. Often the male villains (e.g., Vincent Price) in old movies used vocal fry to convey their sinister character. Another interesting fact is that vocal fry if found often in the speech of British men. It is so prevalent now that it can be heard by both men and women on almost any radio or TV broadcast.

There is no single cause or purpose for vocal fry, but research does point out several interesting and conflicting facts:

  • Up to two-thirds of American women use it.
  • It conveys a sense of confidence and and represents an image of an upwardly mobile, sophisticated woman.
  • It lowers the female pitch, bringing it closer to male range (and thereby conveys more power and authority).
  • It is associated with muscle tension–but this often due to an underlying pathology, which is NOT the same vocal fry that people are talking about in popular culture.
  • It can be used for comedic effect.
  • It can be used to represent sexuality and desirability.
  • It can make the speaker sound laid-back.
  • Women listeners tend to rate vocal fry more harshly.
  • It is used when expressing complaints.
  • It is not random but often occurs at the end of an utterance, signaling completion and even inviting the listener to empathize with the speaker’s perspective.
  • Because it tends to be negatively evaluated by employers, there is concern that it can influence hiring decisions.

New Volume

Language, Body, and Health

Ed. by Paul McPherron & Vaidehi Ramanathan, 
Hardcover | RRP Euro [D] 54.95 / for USA, Canada, Mexico US$ 82.00. *
ISBN 978-1-934078-19-8
Series: Language and Social Processes 2
to be published October 2011

Also available as an eBook

About this Title

  • Introduces discourses around bodies per se into language-related research, a realm that previous research has not directly engaged
  • Initiates discussions about bodies by critically addressing the language by which experiences around bodily breakdowns and ailments occur
  • Seeks to bring in perspectives from a range of disciplines including disability studies, comparative literature, anthropology, gerontology, and occupational therapy

This edited book addresses ways in which ‘bodies’ conceived broadly – get languaged, and ways in which ideas of ‘normalcy’ and ‘normal’ bodies are held in place and reproduced. The articles show how it is through this medium that people with ailments or ‘unusual’ bodies get positioned and slotted in certain ways. The present volume represents a departure from other works in at least two ways. First, it brings in discourses around bodies per se into language-related research, a realm that previous research has not directly engaged. Second, it ushers in discussions about bodies by critically addressing the language by which experiences around bodily breakdowns and ailments occur. Calling attention to a host of discourses – biomedical, societal, poststructuralist – and drawing on a variety of disciplinary perspectives, critical theories, ethnographically gathered materials, and extant data, the chapters pierce the general veil of silence that we have collectively drawn regarding how some of our most intimate body (dis)functions impact our everyday living and sense of “normalcy”.

SLS Brownbag: Demystifying the PhD Job Search

Well, we had another SLS (Second Language Studies) Thursday Lecture Series “Brownbag” on April 28 at UH Manoa. I’m trying to remember, was that my fifth or sixth Brownbag presentation? What a great turnout! That was a lot of fun. I really enjoy organizing professional development sessions.  I shared my experiences in the PhD program and the job market.  Three SLS faculty members, Christina Higgins, Dongping Zheng, and Luca Onnis, also generously offered their time and words of advice. We wanted this to be a good opportunity for students to learn more about the academic job search and have a place to raise various questions and concerns. The discussion could have gone on for a couple more hours! It was great to see so many SLS MA students take part. It shows they’re thinking ahead.

Some of the highlights:

Barbary Cooney (SLS Dept. Graduate Academic Advisor) gave a wonderful introduction! It makes me want to live up to those kind words.

• Not really a “highlight,” but I mispoke and referred to the talk as a “Brownbrag” presentation (cue laughter). Oops!

Graham Crookes encouraged MA students to try to publish their Thesis or Scholarly Paper as a way to get into publishing. It’s great to have professors who encourage students like that! I urge UH students to take his classes on Critical Pedagogy (“Radical Pedagogy” may be more appropriate) and the Philosophy of Education. I wish they were required courses. Stay tuned for his upcoming book.

Christina Higgins, a professor known for her sociolinguistic work on identity, hybridity, and multilingualism, urged students to actively seek out opportunities for growth. She also raised an important concern about junior scholars doing book reviews. Although many cite book reviews as a way for students to get into the academic publishing biz, it is an incredible task for a novice scholar to try to summarize and critique the work of senior scholars. The breadth and depth of knowledge required to provide a professional and well-balanced review is often beyond that of most novice MA and PhD students.

Luca Onnis, professor and director of the Center for Second Language Research, said that when he was a PhD student he got his first taste of grant writing while working with a senior scholar. I hope he and some of the other faculty will offer a workshop for students on grant writing. He also emphasized the importance of having questions prepared for the job search committee. If you’re interested in learning more about how to link cognitive science with language learning and teaching, check out his website.

Dongping Zheng, a professor with expertise in educational technology, made an observation about the importance of young scholars finding a “voice.” She suggested that the Internet can be a powerful platform to become visible and audible–particularly for those who may face challenges due to gender, age, ethnicity, education, and linguistic background. She also reminded us how important it is for students to have good role models (!) and a good online portfolio.

Overall, everyone emphasized the need for students to be proactive in pursuing their career goals and creating opportunities for professional development, to seek out apprenticeship and mentorship, and to get away from the “student” mentality by actively working toward becoming language professionals.

A big thank you to everyone that attended! The PDF is up in the RESOURCES section of this website. I revised it (April 30) a bit by adding some of the comments that came out of Thursday’s Brownbag. I will update it periodically, so suggestions are most welcome.