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This overview paper provides an introduction to work on naturally-occurring speech data, combining techniques of conversation analysis with techniques and methods from phonetics. The paper describes the development of the field, highlighting current challenges and progress in interdisciplinary work. It considers the role of quantification and its relationship to a qualitative methodology. It presents the conversation analytic notion of sequence as a version of context, and argues that sequences of talk constrain relevant phonetic design, and so provide one account for variability in naturally occurring speech. The paper also describes the manipulation of speech and language on many levels simultaneously. All of these themes occur and are explored in more detail in the papers contained in this special issue.
- conversation analysis, qualitative analysis, quantification, social action
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