Accessibility statement

The language of turn and sequence



In this module students will learn how the grammar and phonetics of English both shape and are shaped by their use in everyday conversation (talk-in-interaction). Students will learn the basics of conversation analysis (CA), a method of qualitative data analysis, and use this methodology to investigate how the phonetics and grammar of English as used in conversation (as opposed to intuited or elicited experimentally) can inform our understanding of the shape and use of linguistic structures.

The module emphasises understanding and application of CA methodology, descriptive precision, and presentation skills.

This module requires that you:

  • develop basic skills in Conversation Analysis (CA)
  • show an understanding of the linguistic concepts learned in Introduction to Phonetics and Phonology and Understanding English Grammar and apply them to English as used in conversation
  • build and analyse a collection of data to answer a specific research question

In this module you will learn how to:

  • present a qualitative (CA) data analysis
  • recognize complex patterns in linguistic data
  • form generalizations about data
  • apply your understanding of linguistic structures (both phonetic and syntactic) to everyday conversation



Students must have successfully completed the following:

  • E01C Understanding English Grammar (LAN00001C)
  • L09C Introduction to Phonetics and Phonology (LAN00009C)




Contact hours

One-hour lecture every week, with supporting 2-hour practical sessions in some weeks. In Week 10 of the Spring term, each student will meet individually with the lecturer to outline his/her research topic (1-1 presentations).

Teaching programme

The module will cover the basics of conversation analysis with a special attention to the ways in which linguistic structures interact with sequential structure. Work in this module will be heavily empirical/data-driven, and students will learn how to work with data (both in practical terms and intellectually) and how to present the findings of their analyses to a linguistics audience.

Teaching materials

Data, exercises, and essential readings will be made available on the VLE.

Recommended reading

  • Hutchby, Ian. (1998). Conversation analysis. Polity Press
  • Levinson, Stephen C (1983). Pragmatics. Cambridge [Cambridgeshire]; Cambridge University Press, Chapter 6: Conversational Structure
  • Psathas, George (1995). Conversation analysis: the study of talk-in-interaction. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage
  • Sidnell, J. (2010). Conversation Analysis: An Introduction. Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Sidnell, Jack.; Stivers, Tanya. (2013). The handbook of conversation analysis [electronic resource]. Oxford : Wiley-Blackwell esp. Ch.22, pp.475-491
  • Schegloff, E.A. (2006). Sequence Organization in Interaction: A Primer in Conversation Analysis. Cambridge: CUP
  • Wooffitt, Robin (2005). Conversation analysis and discourse analysis: a comparative and critical introduction. London: SAGE

Assessment and feedback

Assessment and feedback

Formative work and feedback

Students will receive immediate feedback from the module convenor and peers as they present and discuss their analyses during practical sessions. In-class exercises may be handed in for additional written feedback. Written feedback on the 1-1 presentations will be provided to the students within 48 hours to facilitate work on the data analysis project.

Summative assessment and feedback

  • Single-case analysis of a selected fragment of data
    • Due: Week 7, Spring term
    • Length: 750 words
    • Weight: 20%
  • Submission of collection of data fragments relating to the proposed topic of investigation for the data analysis project
    • Week 1, Summer term
    • Weight: 5%
  • Data analysis project, on an approved topic
    • Thursday of Week 5, Summer term
    • Length: 2000 words
    • Weight: 75%

About this module

  • Module name
    The language of turn and sequence
  • Course code
    E/L34I (LAN00034I)
  • Teacher 
    Julia Kolkmann
  • Term(s) taught
  • Credits