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Syntax is the study of how words are formed together to form a sentence/word order. The component parts of
a sentence are called constituents, which are the natural groupings of a sentence
Adjacency Pair 2 utterances linked in an obvious or clear way, always said by different speakers. E.g.
Question/Answer Greeting/Returned Greeting Apology/Acceptance.
Backchannel Feedback offered by one or more listeners to the main speaker, taking the form of minimal
responses and nonverbal communication such as nods and/or laughter.
Closed Question A question with few possible answers, or with a narrow field of response. E.g. "Did you like
the film?" rather than a more open question like "Can you tell me about the film?"
Colloquialism A word or phrase that is common in spoken language but not in written Standard English. E.g.
Contraction/Contracted Form 2 words that are reduced into 1 using an apostrophe. E.g. 'can't/wouldn't'.
Deixis A reference to something within the context of the interaction. E.g. that 'can you pass me that?' or him
'did you speak to him yet?'. It can alternatively be a time reference such as yesterday/next week because we
don't know the date of the interaction, we don't know when they refer to.
Discourse Marker A word that indicates a change of (or return to) topic. E.g. anyway, well, as I was saying.
Elision Missing out a sound within a word. E.g. intrest, goin'. Note that these words may or may not be
marked with an apostrophe.
Ellipsis Missing out a word, often a noun or pronoun. E.g. "better get on with it", where it could of be 'I'd,
S/He'd, we'd, or you'd.
False Start Changing tack a short way into a sentence.
Filler A word that is found to have no/little meaning. Speakers often have preferred fillers they form part of our
idiolect. E.g. like, innit.
Head Repetition of the subject at the start of a sentence but in a different form. E.g. Clare, she's really nice.
OR. That girl, I really like her. A head can be a single word or a longer phrase.
Hedge "Padding" that is added to bold statements, often intentionally in order to soften a request of statement.
E.g. kind of, probably, could be.
Idiolect An individual way of talking. It is often characterised by dialect terms, favoured fillers, discourse
markers, and any use of language that distinguishes them from the majority.
Ingroup Lexis Vocabulary shared by a group, often a form of slang or catchphrase/buzzword. It is used to
show membership or belonging.
Latch Utterances by different speakers which follow on (with no pauses) are said to "latch". They can show
Micropause These are usually represented by a (.). It shows a very brief pause, that acts as punctuation or
possibly a hesitation/thinking time in spontaneous speech.
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Nonstandard Grammar Preferred term (not incorrect, bad, or poor grammar). Common in speech even of
Nonverbal Filler Filler which is not technically a word. E.g. "umm" or "erm".
Open Question A question with many possible responses and allows the speaker more of a choice of
Overlap Participants speaking at the same time, on the same topic. More positive than interruption usually
shows enthusiasm or a high degree of interaction.
Phatic Utterance Utterance having little meaning but a social purpose. E.g.…read more
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Interactional Talk Language in conversation used for interpersonal reasons and/or socialising.
Nonfluency features Typical and normal characteristics of spoken language that interrupt the "flow" of talk.
Some examples: hesitations, false starts, fillers, repetitions (although these can also be used for emphasis),
overlaps and interruptions.
Paralinguistic features Related to body language it is the use of gestures, facial expressions + other
nonverbal elements (such as laughter) to add meaning to the speaker's message beyond the words being