Most of our language use and acquisition happens through face-to-face interaction, which gives us access not only to what we and others say, but also how we use our bodies in interacting with others. A growing area of research explores how language is connected to gesture, facial expression and eye gaze: how are multiple channels of information like lexical choice, syntactic structure, intonational structure, and other aspects of linguistic production connected to the use of the body as we talk? How do we interact with one another and with objects in a physical world? How does this shape our language, and how does our language reflect the demands of being human beings in bodies, and in a physical world? In this module, we explore language as a multimodal phenomenon, grounding our work in everyday interactions, and using the methodological resources of conversation analysis, gesture studies, and phonetics.
At the end of this module you will be able to:
You will know:
This module will be capped at 20.
Students must have successfully completed at least one of:
It is recommended that students taking this module also take:
In the spring term, there are two contact hours a week, in two streams: one is a lecture/seminar stream, the other a practical stream.
Four topics will covered in two-week blocks. Lectures and seminars will be in alternate weeks (lecture one week, related seminar the next), and each two-week block will focus on a particular topic. The lecture will provide an overview of the main issues both in the literature and where there are gaps in current knowledge. The seminar will pick up issues from the lecture and will involve discussion of reading materials, exercises with data, and critical examination of the topic.
The practicals will be lab-based. They will require students to do some preparation and/or follow-up. They will run weekly for one hour. They will cover how to use appropriate software, and the analysis of data.
In the summer term, there is one weekly seminar, which focuses on supporting students for the final assessment.
The practicals will cover the following topics:
The content in the spring term will cover important topics in the analysis of face-to-face spoken interaction. The precise content will vary from year to year, but is likely to include:
In the summer term, we will focus on final projects, with activities that support students’ independent research. These will vary depending to the needs of the group but are likely to include:
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 your skills in synthesis and application of data analysis. This module involves applying the 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 knowledge (and thus confidently tackle unfamiliar problems you may meet in a job) is a valuable skill to bring to employers. You will also develop the ability to analyse and talk about the nonverbal behaviour of participants in social interaction, a skill which has practical applications in numerous professions.
Follow this link to hear how past students use transferable skills from their degree in their current jobs.