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The Language of Turn & Sequence - LAN00034I

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  • Department: Language and Linguistic Science
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Julia Kolkmann
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: I
  • Academic year of delivery: 2024-25

Module summary

Conversation is the most basic and widespread use of language. In this module, you will study the mechanics of conversation, learn about the field of conversation analysis (CA), and gain hand-on experience in doing CA by recording and analysing a conversation of your own.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 2 2024-25

Module aims

The module aims to

  • introduce the core theory and key findings of conversation analysis (CA)

  • intorduce basic research methods (data collection, transcription, and analysis)

  • develop your ability to analyse linguistics data

  • develop your academic writing skills

  • prepare for further study in the area of language use and social interaction

Module learning outcomes

At the end of the module you will be able to

  • record everyday conversations ethically

  • transcribe conversations at a fine level of detail using a standard transcription system

  • identify interactional practices and phenomena in recorded conversations

  • build and analyse a collection of comparable data extracts

  • write about conversation and language use in a precise and technical way

  • understand the basic mechanics of conversation

  • analyse short segments of conversation, both those provided to you and those you identify yourself

Module content

In this module, you will study the organisation of conversation at the finest level of detail, both theoretically and empirically. You will be introduced to conversation analysis (CA), a data-driven method for the study of conversation and talk-in-interaction. You will learn about, and learn how to analyse, the basic mechanics of conversation, which includes

  • turn-taking - how opportunities to speak are allocated;

  • action-sequencing - how turns at talk by successive speakers form coherent courses of action;

  • repair - how speakers resolve troubles of speaking, hearing, and understanding; and

  • preference organisation - biases in practices of speaking that favour social affiliation over disaffiliation.

The module combines lectures that cover the core theory and key findings of CA with hands-on practical sessions in which you will develop the skills necessary to do CA, including recording conversation, transcribing data, building collections of conversational phenomena, and writing up analyses.


Task Length % of module mark
2000 Word Data analysis project report
N/A 75
Data transcription and analysis
N/A 15
Submission of a recorded conversation
N/A 10

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Data transcription and analysis project
N/A 100

Module feedback

Students will receive immediate feedback from the module tutor and peers as they present and discuss their analyses during practical sessions. Weekly formative exercises may be submitted for additional written feedback, and model answers for formative exercises and summative assessments will be available on the VLE. Feedback on the data transcription and analysis assignment will be provided before the end of Week 11 so students can use it for their project report.

Indicative reading

Required textbook:

Clift, R. (2016). Conversation Analysis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.