Toward an Interactional Clinical Phonetics and Phonology


  • Martin J. Ball University of Louisiana at Lafayette
  • Jack S. Damico University of Louisiana at Lafayette



talk in interaction, disordered speech, interactional phonetics, systemic phonology, systemic functional linguistics


In this paper we introduce two main areas of interactional research in the field of spoken language analysis, and describe with some brief preliminary studies, how these can be applied to the study of disordered speech. Interactional phonetics is a school of phonetic analysis that looks beyond the traditional concerns of phoneticians with the description of segmental speech features (especially those concerned with lexical contrast in a given speech variety) to those features (both supra- and subsegmental) that are used to signal events in talk in interaction. We demonstrate how this approach can be employed in disordered speech with two brief examples; one from an adult and one from a child. Systemic phonology deriving from work in Firthian prosodic phonology and situated within the Hallidayan Systemic Functional Linguistics, brings the explicit concerns of the interactional context into the analysis of sound system choices. We illustrate this with disordered speech with an example from an adult with progressive speech deterioration.

Author Biography

Martin J. Ball, University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Dr Martin J. Ball is Hawthorne-BoRSF Endowed Professor, and Director of the Hawthorne Research Center in the Department of Communicative Disorders, at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Dr Ball has authored and edited twenty-five books, 40 contributions to collections and over eighty refereed articles in academic journals. He is co-editor of the journal Clinical Linguistics and Phonetics (Taylor & Francis), and the book series Communication Disorders across Languages (Multilingual Matters). His main research interests include sociolinguistics, clinical phonetics and phonology, and the linguistics of Welsh. He was until recently President of the International Clinical Phonetics and Linguistics Association; he is an honorary Fellow of the UK Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists. His most recent books are Clinical Aphasiology: Future Directions (co-edited with Jack Damico, Psychology Press, 2007) and Handbook of Clinical Linguistics (co-edited with M. Perkins, N. Müller and S. Howard, Blackwell, 2008).


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How to Cite

Ball, M. J., & Damico, J. S. (2010). Toward an Interactional Clinical Phonetics and Phonology. Journal of Interactional Research in Communication Disorders, 1(1), 31–44.




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