Turning the Tables? An Analysis of Turn-Taking within Conversation.

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Turn-taking as a concept has long had its influence within the field of Conversation Analysis. Since it was first introduced by Sacks, Schegloff and Jefferson (1974), it has been analysed and refined into the field of modern psycholinguistics (Levinson, 2016). The current thesis looks both at theoretical evidence and data from a naturalistic, explanatory, two-party task. Both of these show there are certain problems within the turn-taking system as it currently stands. Not only does it come short in properly capturing the multimodal nature of communication, it also is unable to explain certain constant and ongoing communicative exchanges within classical turn boundaries. This thesis will argue that a less rigid system in which turns are considered to be mainly temporal units is better suited to explain the realities of day to day communication. Communication should be considered more fluent and constant, with so-called Inter Boundary Modulations (IBM) being a prevalent and very normal phenomenon, in which traditional ‘listeners’ are able to influence the online decision making of the traditional ‘speaker.’ The analysis in this thesis will put forward three of the most common types if IBM it has been able to reveal within the current analysis. In sum, the conclusion will be that the rigidity of the turn-taking system must be revised as well as its psycholinguistic interpretation, to leave more room for the influence of online interpretation on online production.
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