LINGUIST List 14.751

Fri Mar 14 2003

Qs: Linguistics Courses, Conversational Turn-taking

Editor for this issue: Naomi Fox <>

FUND DRIVE 2003 Thanks to the generosity of our subscribers we were able to reach the $10,000 mark in record time. Because of this we were able to secure a $1,500 donation from John Benjamins Publishing - a big thank you to all the crew at JBs! But we still have a long way to go! Please help us reach our total of $50,000 by making a donation at: The LINGUIST List depends on the generous contributions from subscribers like you; we would not be able to operate without your help. The moderators, staff, and student editors at LINGUIST would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your continuous support. We'd like to remind readers that the responses to queries are usually best posted to the individual asking the question. That individual is then strongly encouraged to post a summary to the list. This policy was instituted to help control the huge volume of mail on LINGUIST; so we would appreciate your cooperating with it whenever it seems appropriate. In addition to posting a summary, we'd like to remind people that it is usually a good idea to personally thank those individuals who have taken the trouble to respond to the query. To post to LINGUIST, use our convenient web form at


  1. Trudi Patterson, Linguistics in General Education
  2. Fay Wouk, query- speaker recognition in audio tapes given in evidence

Message 1: Linguistics in General Education

Date: Wed, 12 Mar 2003 17:26:56 +0000
From: Trudi Patterson <>
Subject: Linguistics in General Education

I am interested in extending the reach of linguistics beyond courses
for future linguists and/or teacher education. There are disucssions
across the U.S. about language policy, e.g. identifying English as an
official language, and one going on here in Oklahoma. So it would
seem important, nay critical, for us to try to reach students in other
majors and educate them about language/linguistics. Here, we offer a
course in Language & Culture to fulfill a humanities requirement. I am
told that some schools offer linguistics as a lab science course to
fulfill the lab science requirement.

I would like to know how schools use linguistics-type classes in the
general education curriculum. What linguistics-type courses do you
offer that fulfill general education requirements and how/which
category do they fulfill?

I will post a summary 
Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue

Message 2: query- speaker recognition in audio tapes given in evidence

Date: Fri, 14 Mar 2003 16:21:51 +1300
From: Fay Wouk <>
Subject: query- speaker recognition in audio tapes given in evidence

I have been approached by a local law firm for assistance in a court 
case, but do not have the expertise required. They came to me because 
I do conversation analysis, but this is really something different, 
although it does relate to recorded conversation.

The situation is as follows: police witnesses are making claims about 
the identity of speakers for individual turns on an audio tape being 
used as evidence. The law firm feels that the assignment of speakers 
to turns is being done in an arbitrary fashion, and doubts its 
accuracy. It is, of course, crucial to the case to know who said 
what. They would like an expert witness who could say why the 
accuracy is questionable. While I know from personal experience that 
it can be difficult to identify the speaker of certain turns in 
multi-party conversation, they want actual scientific explanations 
for why impressionistic identity assignment might be a problem, and 
how one can accurately assign identity. (I have not yet listened to 
their tapes, but will have an opportunity to do so.)

If anyone has any experience with such matters, or knows of any 
published material relating to it, or has any ideas about how to go 
about doing this, please contact me. If you think you might be able 
to help, but you're still not really sure what I'm asking, or need 
more detail, please contact me with clarification questions.

Time is of the essence - the case is already in trial, so please 
respond as soon as you possibly can.

If there is interest in the topic, I will post a summary to the list.


Fay Wouk
Senior Lecturer in Linguistics
Department of Applied Language Studies and Linguistics
University of Auckland
Private Bag 92019
New Zealand
Mail to author|Respond to list|Read more issues|LINGUIST home page|Top of issue