Psychologists have predicted turn-taking regulated by visual signals

Rules of Conversational SequenceRules of Conversational Sequence
If a staff member uses
“Hello this is Mr Smith, may I help you”
And any answer other than:
“Yes, this is Mr Brown” follows
(e.g., “sorry I can’t hear you”, “I don’t know”, “how
do you spell that?” )
Then the caller is very unlikely to give their name at any point in the call. Analysing Interaction: Basic Structures
“Where is my last easter egg?”
…. “I’ve no idea.”
…. “your last easter egg?”
…. “ah, where are the snows of yesteryear?”
…. <passes egg>
Given a question, an answer is conditionally relevant but not necessary.
CA: Empirical Analysis of Interaction.
• Avoids premature formalisation

“resolutely empirical”
– Naturally occurring data
• Participants own methods of making sense of the worldBasic Structures: Turn Taking
Control of the ‘floor’ is subtle:
• Less than 5% of conversation overlaps
• Gaps between speakers are extremely short
• Holds across contexts and number of speakers
Sacks Schegloff and Jefferson (1974): Local Management System
• Turns
– Minimum units of conversation (phrase, clause, sentence)
• Turn Construction Units
– Period of ‘ownership’ of the floor
• Transition Relevance Place
– Where change of speaker may occur
– Projectable
• Speaker SelectionBasic Rules for Turn-taking
Rule 1 – applies initially at the first TRP of any turn:
• A) If C selects N in current turn, then C must stop speaking, and N
must speak next, transition occurring at the first TRP after N-selection.
• B) If C does not select N, then any (other) party may self-select, first
speaker gaining rights to the next turn.
• C) If C has not selected N, and no other party self-selects under
option B), then C may (but need not) continue (i.e., claim rights to a
further turn-constructional unit).
Rule 2 – applies at all subsequent TRP’
• When rule 1 (c) has been applied by C, then at next TRP rules 1 (a)-
(c) apply and recursively at the next TRP until speaker change is
effected.Basic Structures: Overlap
• From Rule 1(b) an (inadvertent) competing first start
J: Twelve pounds I think wasn’t it.=
D: = //Can you believe it?
L: Twelve pounds on the Weight Watchers scale/
• Misprojection of turn completion (unexpected extra tag question):
A: Uh you been down here before // havenche
B: Yeah
• A violative interruption
C: We:ll I wrote what I thought was a a-a rea:s’n//
ble explanatio:n.
F: I thought it was a very rude le:tter Basic Structures: Silences
The turn-taking rules allow us to distinguish three types of silence
1. Gap – silence before rules 1(b) or 1(c) are applied
2. Lapse – silence due to non-application of rules 1(a),(b) or (c).
C: Well no I’ll drive, (I don’t mi//nd)
J: hhh
(1.0) !!!!!⇐ GAP
J: I meant to offer
(16.0) !!!!!⇐ LAPSE
J: Those shoes look nice. Basic Structures: Silences
3. ‘Attributable’ Silence – after application of 1(a)
A: Is there something bothering you or not?
(1.0) !!!!!⇐
A: Yes or no
(1.5) !!!!!⇐
A: Eh?
B: No.
The turn-taking rules provide a locally managed (turn by turn) system
that operates
• independently of the number of speakers
• Independently of the number of turns. Dealing with Overlaps
• One speaker drops out and the remaining speaker recycles (16)
D:… he’s got to talk to someone (very sor) supportive
way towards you (.)
A: //Greg’s (got wha-)* ! !⇐
G: Think you sh* think you should have one to: hold
• Competitive Allocation (17)
J: But dis// person thet DID IT* IS GOT TO BE:: ⇐
V: If I see the person
J: .hh taken care of
Significant machinery for resolving overlaps if they do occur.Three reasons why it’s not obvious
1. Can be organised differently:
• Burundi turn-taking is organised by social status
– participants speak in order of seniority (cf. courtrooms, meetings
2. Psychologists have predicted turn-taking regulated by visual signals
• BUT absence of visual signals does not cause problems
– e.g., less gap and shorter overlaps on phone
3. Turn organisation could be based on ‘moves’ ‘ideas’ ‘speech acts’
• Greetings are highly predictable but rarely overlapped
• Repair initiation does not occur immediately after the ‘idea’ / ‘move’
but at the next TRP.Basic Structures: Adjacency Pairs
Fundamental unit of conversational organisation
Two utterances that are:
1. adjacent
2. produced by different speakers
3. ordered as first part and second part
4. typed
offers – acceptances, rejections
greetings – greetings
Having produced a first part of some pair, current speaker must stop
speaking, and the next speaker must produce at that point a second
part to the same pair. Adjacency Pairs
Strict adjacency is too strong a requirement: Insertion Sequences
• Embedded question:
A: May I have a bottle of Mich ! !((Q1))
B: Are you twenty one? !!!((Q2))
A: No !!!!!!((A2))
B: No ((A1))click here for more information on this paper• Temporary suspension of interaction:
B: U:hm (.) what’s the price now with eh V.A.T. do
you know eh. !!!!((Q1))
A: Er I’ll just work that out for you ((Hold))
B: =thanks
A: Three pounds nineteen a tube sir. ((A1))Adjacency Pairs
B: I ordered some paint from you uh a couple of weeks ago some vermillion
A: Yuh
B: And I wanted to order some more the name’s Boyd ((R1))
A: Yes // how many tubes would you like sir !!!((Q1))
B: AnB:
U:hm (.) what’s the price now with eh V.A.T. do you know eh. ((Q2))
A: Er I’ll just work that out for you ((HOLD))
B: =thanks !!!!!!!((ACCEPT))
A: Three pounds nineteen a tube sir. !!! ((A2))
B: Three nineteen is it= !!!!!((Q3))
A: =Yeah !!!!!!!((A3))
B: Eh::h (1.0) yes u:hm ((dental click)) ((in parenthetical tone))
e:h jus-justa think, that’s what three nineteen
That’s for the large tube isn’t it !!!((Q4))
A: Well yeah it’s the thirty seven c.c.s !!!((A4))
B: Er, hh I’ll tell you what I’ll just eh eh ring you back I have
to work out how many I’ll need. Sorry I did- wasn’t sure of
the price you see. !!!!(( ACCOUNT FOR NO A1))Adjacency Pairs
• Insertion sequences can structure long sequences of turns
– local system controls a global structure
– e.g., (Q1(Q2(Q3(Q4-A4)A3)A2)A1)
• Neither the R1 nor Q1 receives its second part (Acceptance & Answer
– BUT what takes place after these turns is interpreted under the
expectation that they will occur
– An account is provided when this expectation is not met
• If the embedded sequence fails, so does the embedding sequencePreference Structures
• Second Parts are ranked according to preference
– Not a psychological notion
• Preferred = Unmarked
• Dispreferred = Marked
– Delayed
– Usually include a Marker
– Usually include an Account Preference Structures
• Preferred: granting a request:
Child: Could you .hh could you put on the light for
my .hh room
Adult: Yep.
• Dispreferred: rejecting a request:
C: Um I wondered if there’s any chance of seeing you
tomorrow sometime (0.5) morning or before the
R: Ah um (.) I doubt it
C: Uhm huh
R: The reason is I’m seeing Elizabeth. Overall Organisation
Local Organisation: Turn-taking & Adjacency Pairs
• Operate across two turns: current and next
• Independently of length of conversation or number of participants
Global Organisation:
• Opening and Closing
1. Greetings/ Identification
2. ‘First Topic Slot’
– Intervening material
3. Return to first topic
4. Pre-closings (“okay, all right, so”)click here for more information on this paper
5. Closing (“Bye, Righteo, Cheers”

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