International Conference on Conversation Analysis (Event)

Activity: MembershipPanel


Panel on Non-lexical Vocalisations in interaction.

In spoken and embodied interaction, there occur many vocalisations that are composed of sounds made in the vocal tract which are not words or particles, but are non-lexical objects: examples from English in regular orthography include “ugh”, “mmm”, “argh!”, “pfft!”, “brrr” (used in English to mark ‘cold’), “phew”, and many others such as clicks, sniffs, or sighs. Items like these may be embedded within a linguistic context, but they are not normally thought of as linguistic objects: rather, they are at the boundary of language and paralanguage, or non-language.

In this panel, we will focus on such non-lexical vocalisations in everyday conversation and various other activity contexts, such as weightlifting, running and board games. We will be addressing the following questions:

How do non-lexical vocalisations relate to turn construction?
How do they relate to action sequencing?
How are they used in embodied practices and collaborative action?
What resources do participants have to make sense of them?
What are the cross-linguistic similarities and differences that can be observed?

The panel includes data from seven languages: Mandarin, German, French, Swedish, English, Finnish, and Estonian. The sound objects in the papers range from more “natural” pharyngeal ones during heavy lifting to the more conventional stance marker “pff” in French. Rather than residing with functional labels, such as a “moan” or a “groan” our ambition is to establish close phonetic descriptions for the target objects, and thus promote a more fine-grained analysis of how various phonetic details are related to evolving turns and trajectories of action.

Unravelling the delicacies of how non-lexical vocalisations are intertwined with speech, body movement, gesture and facial expression in the moment-by-moment unfolding of naturally occurring interaction across languages will help us to explore the boundaries between what is a linguistic item, what is a by-product of the human vocal tract, and what is socially organised.
Period14 Jul 2018
Event titleInternational Conference on Conversation Analysis
Event typeConference
LocationLoughborough, United KingdomShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational