Phonetic detail and the organisation of talk-in-interaction

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This paper examines some methodological and empirical issues concerning phonetic detail and phonetic variability and the work they accomplish in everyday
talk-in-interaction. By considering the phonetic and sequential design of a variety of conversational practices I show that phonetic aspects of language
should in the first instance be understood as shaped by interactional considerations. I argue that in order to provide a robust account for the organisation and functioning of phonetic detail in everyday
conversation we need to:

• enrich our understanding of ‘context’ and ‘communicative function’;
• develop a theory of phonetic exponency which derives from a sequential, action-based analysis of talk-in-interaction, and
• treat all phonetic resources equally and not give analytic privilege to one kind of phonetic parameter over another.

If we adopt this approach, it becomes possible to document systematically the ways in which speakers and listeners use fine phonetic detail and phonetic
variability in producing and interpreting the moment-to-moment flow of everyday talk.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 16th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences: ICPhS XVI, 6-10 August, 2007
Place of PublicationSaarbrücken
PublisherUniversität des Saarlandes
ISBN (Print)9783110186833
Publication statusPublished - 2007

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