The phonetics of talk in interaction



During this module you will gain a deeper and broader understanding of the technical and theoretical concepts of phonetics and phonology, and gain an understanding of the relationship between data and analysis by broadening and deepening your understanding of the organisation of speech in its most natural environment, conversation, and by having the opportunity to collect and analyse your own data.

You will become proficient and develop competence in phonetics in the following ways:

  • By having an opportunity to expand phonetics skills (impressionistic and/or instrumental)
  • By having a forum to discuss and elaborate phonological analyses
  • By integrating the complementary skills of phonetics and phonology

Students will develop an increased tolerance of ambiguity and a respect for the tentative nature of scientific knowledge:

  • By being given an introduction to working in a research-based way
  • By developing skills at working independently and working on a single more in-depth project

Note that a Research Extension module can be taken alongside this module, for students who wish to write a dissertation.

This module will be capped at 20.



Students must have successfully completed:

  • L09I Intermediate phonetics and phonology

Recommended co-requisites

It is strongly suggested that students taking this module also take one or both of the following:

  • E/L17H The prosody of English
  • L16H Articulatory and impressionistic phonetics




Contact hours

Two hours per week with a mixture of lectures, data analysis sessions, and writing workshops spread over the module.

Teaching programme

The module focuses on the phonetic design and interactional function of some aspect of conversation. Past topics include lists, repairs, questions and clicks. The module starts with an overview of the methods and topic to be researched on the module, introducing students to the principles and methods of Conversation Analysis. Students are taken through the process of building and working with a collection of data. An important part of the learning process is regular data sessions, where students present and analyse together fragments of real conversation. The later parts of the module focus on preparing the findings for writing up the final essay assessment.

Teaching materials

Students will be encouraged to construct their own individualised reading lists by using the annotated bibliography for the module available via the VLE.

Assessment and feedback

Assessment and feedback

Feedback on formative work

  • Coursework will be set, to be submitted in Weeks 5 and 9 of Spring Term
  • Class feedback on write-up of practical exercise within two weeks of submission
  • In addition, students will receive oral feedback on their performance practical exercises and in data sessions

Summative assessment and feedback

  • Transcriptions
    • Due: Week 1, Summer Term
    • Weight: 20%
    • Personalised written feedback on summative work within four weeks of submission
  • Essay
    • Due: Week 5, Summer Term
    • Weight: 80%


Transferable skills developed in this module

All modules provide an opportunity to work on general oral/written communication skills (in class and in assessments) and general self management (organising your studies), alongside the specific skills in language or linguistics that the module teaches.

In addition, this module will allow you to particularly develop skills in synthesis and application of data analysis skills learned separately. This module involves applying the phonetic analysis techniques learned in other modules to a new method of analysing everyday talk; being able to explicitly relate knowledge gained from different spheres of experience (and thus confidently tackle unfamiliar problems you may meet in a job) is a valued and valuable skill to bring to employers.

Follow this link to hear how past students use transferable skills from their degree in their current jobs.

About this module

  • Module name
    The phonetics of talk in interaction
  • Course code
    E/L31H (LAN00031H)
  • Teacher
    Richard Ogden 
  • Term(s) taught
  • Credits