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Interruption and Turn-taking

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1 Interruption and Turn-taking
Claus Brockmeyer Caroline Smieja

2 Turn construction units (TCUs)
TCUs are turns at talk, e.g. in sentences, clauses, single words or phrases

3 The two components of the turn-taking model
1: TCUs have the property of projectability: it is possible for participants to project, in the course of TCU, what sort of unit it is and at what point it is likely to end. 2: TCUs have transition-relevance places (TRPs) at their boundaries: at the end of each TCU there is the possibility for legitimate transition between speakers (example)

4 Interruptions - definition (West / Zimmermann; 1975,1983)
have the potential to disrupt a speaker´s turn and disorganize ongoing construction of the conversational topic of the first speaker; regarded as a hostile act

5 Interruptions - definition (West / Zimmermann; 1975,1983)
A second speaker begins speaking at what could not be a TRP; a violation of the first speaker´s turn; a device for exercising power and control in a conversation; a deep intrusion & penetration of first speaker´s utterance;

6 1. Interruption definition: (Jennifer Coates)
Violation of turn-taking rules of conversation. The next speaker begins to speak while the current speaker is still speaking, at a point in the current speaker`s turn which could not be defined as the last word.

7 2. Interruption definition: (Jennifer Coates)
Interruptions break the symmetry of the conversational model: the interruption prevents the first speaker from finishing his/her turn, at the same time gaining a turn for oneself (second speaker).

8 Rules for Turn-taking: (Sacks, Schegloff, Jefferson, 1974)
current speaker selects next speaker next speaker self-selects current speaker continues

9 Violation of the turn-taking model (Jennifer Coates)
grabbing the floor hogging the floor (taking the floor although other speaker was selected) not responding (silence)

10 Definitions of „overlap“
Bennett (1981) : Overlap is when two voices are going on at the same time.

11 Definitions of „overlap“
West / Zimmerman (1975/1983) : An overlap is an instance of simultaneous speech where a speaker other than the current speaker begins to speak at, or very close to a possible TRP in a current speaker´s utterance. It is this proximity to a legitimate point of speaker alternation that leads to distinguish overlaps from interruptions.

12 Definitions of „overlap“
Coates (2003) : instances of slight over-anticipation by the next speaker. Over-anticipation does not necessarily force the first speaker to finish his / her turn.

13 Interruption vs. Overlap (Tannen 1990)
High-involvement style High-considerateness style

14 Interruption vs. Overlap (Tannen 1990)
High-involvement style: - little / no pause supportive tags (hms, yes, ok.) overlapping questions fast-paced latching (elaborating on a topic) conversation is not disrupted shows interest and rapport

15 Interruption vs. Overlap (Tannen 1990)
High-considerateness style : favour longer pauses averse to overlaps await TRP no sudden topic shifts

16 Conclusion different conversational styles
subculture, culture, individual style and predisposition situation hierarchy / relationship of the speakers

17 research is still going on….

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