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Finsk-ugriska språk och kultur


Finska språket


Finska språket och kulturen




Lecture: Richard Ogden - Forms and functions of clicks in English conversation

Senior lecturer Richard Ogden from the Department of Language and Linguistic Science (University of York), will be visiting the Centre of Excellence in Intersubjectivity in Interaction (Department of Finnish, Finno-Ugrian and Scandinavian Studies, University of Helsinki) in the week 46 (Nov. 12-16).

During his visit Richard will give a lecture on

Forms and functions of clicks in English conversation.

Date and time: Tuesday, Nov. 13, at 10-12
Place: Aud XII, 3rd floor (The main building of the UH, entrance from Unioninkatu side)


The event is open for everyone interested.

Please find below the abstract of the talk.

Please find below the abstract of the talk.
For more information about Richard Ogden and his research, please visit:

More information about the Centre of Excellence in Intersubjectivity in Interaction:



Forms and functions of clicks in English conversation

Clicks -- velarically initiated, ingressive suction stops -- are rare in the phonological systems of the world's languages. However, they are common in normal speech in many languages, including English. Some recent work (notably by Melissa Wright, 2007, 2011a & b) has shown that clicks play a role in handling aspects of sequence management.

In this talk, I will explore the phonetic forms of clicks and map out some of their functions. I will argue that some clicks are 'vegetative', i.e. a product of opening the vocal tract up to speak, and form a set with another kind of sound, which Pike (1943) calls 'percussives'. I will show that clicks (and similar sounds) can vary along several parameters in English, and are not (in phonetic terms) a simple set. In terms of function, clicks (and similar sounds) seem to handle three broad kinds of work: matters of turn and sequence design (indexing a new sequence, indexing 'mulling over', etc); indexing matters of stance and affect; and indexing incipient speakership.

I will consider some of the phonetic and sequential issues that remain to be addressed. The broader question, for linguistics, is: what do we consider to be the limits of our object of enquiry? where does linguistics reach its limit?  By studying a family of sounds considered to be at the periphery of the linguistic system of English, we are in fact examining
what we mean by language.

Pike, K. L. (1943). Phonetics. A critical analysis of phonetic theory and a technic for the practical description of sounds. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

Wright, M. (2007). Clicks as markers of new sequences in English conversation. International Congress of the Phonetic Sciences XVI (pp. 1069–1072). Saarbrücken. www.ichps2007.de

Wright, M. (2011a). The phonetics–interaction interface in the initiation of closings in everyday English telephone calls. Journal of Pragmatics , 43 (4), 1080–1099. doi:10.1016/j.pragma.2010.09.004

Wright, M. (2011b). On clicks in English talk-in-interaction. Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 41(02), 207–229.