Spontaneous and non-spontaneous turn-taking

Maite Taboada


Turn-taking is usually considered to follow a simple set of rules, enacted through a perhaps more complicated system of signals. The most significant aspect of the turn-taking process is that, in most cases, it proceeds in a very smooth fashion. Speakers signal to each other that they wish to either yield or take the turn through syntactic, pragmatic, and prosodic means. In this paper, I explore how the turn-taking process develops in two different sets of Spanish conversations. In the first group of conversations, speakers take turns spontaneously, presumably as they would do in everyday situations. In the second group, turns were mechanically controlled, and communication was one-way. A comparison of the two types of conversation provides insights into the signals used in spontaneous turn-taking.

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