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Title: A psycholinguistic analysis of emergency (999) telephone calls to the fire brigade
Author: Comber, Miriam
ISNI:       0000 0001 3561 0157
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 1990
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This study examines three aspects of conversational management in emergency (999) telephone calls made to the fire brigade: turn-taking, the use of speech acts and the transmission of information. Examination of the 16 longest calls in the corpus showed two problem types, situation specific and information transfer. The occurrence of situation specific problems was linked to longer calls. Turn-management behaviour was studied in 146 calls. Both operators and callers interrupted more when the caller was a woman. No difference was found in the distribution of speech across role or sex. Operators used significantly more assent words than callers. Speech act management was examined in 91 calls, using Conversational Exchange Analysis (Thomas, Bull and Roger, 1982). Operators and callers used different repertoires of speech acts. The operator also used acts which lead to predictable responses from the caller. The questions asked by the operator in 92 calls were categorised by the type of information requested and the sequence of questions was analysed to determine whether the operators used Requests to structure the call. The majority of probable transitions were between repeated instances of the same question. The sequence of questions could be predicted only at the beginning and end of the call. Information transfer was studied using three measures in 72 calls: method of information transfer, lapses between the parts of transfer sequences and errors in transfer. Different items of information were differed on all three measures. Finally, turn and speech act management were examined together, in 89 calls, using Facet Theory (Gratch, 1973) and multidimensional analysis. Two facets emerged, task and degree of interventionism. The conclusion of the study is that conversation management within these calls is strongly influenced by the interaction situation.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Psychology