The construction of turns at talk in social interaction
Non-verbal cues to turn transitions are often studied in isolation from their linguistic substrate. It is argued that this produces a misunderstanding of the origin and action of 'turn-taking cues', and obscures the relationship of inter- actional process and switching style. A series of studies are presented which explore these issues utilising dialogues from three married couples. The pattern of switching styles in the interactions are described together with an examination of patterns of gazing and a content analysis of talk. The role of gaze in the regulation of turn transitions is evaluated with reference to Kendon's (1967) 'look-ups cue. The speed of speaker switching was found to be increased only where 'looking-up' arose in the context of low levels of gaze, with no change of gaze state prior to the look-up cue itself. Relationships between this cue and linguistic features of utterance endings were also noted. Further examination of this relationship is made through evaluation of the system of turn-yielding and maintaining cues proposed by Duncan (1972). Clause completion was found to be closely associated with the location of turn-taking attempts; other non-verbal cues tended to accompany this feature. Non- verbal behaviours were, however, important in differentiating (linguistically defined) intra- and inter-utterance boundaries. Relationships between strategy and turn taking style are explored; variations in the frequency and class of interruptions were found in different strategic states. The relationship of switching style to interactional meaning is discussed and the concept of cohesion introduced. This feature, which addresses, the textual continuity of talk, was found to be important to the perceived meaning of interruption sequences; the placement of interruptions either within or between boundaries in-the speakers talk did not exert a similar influence. Behavioural consequences of cohesion were also evident.