ERIC Number: ED250948
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1981-Nov
Reference Count: N/A
Some Notes on Conversational Fission. Sociolinguistic Working Paper Number 91.
Sigman, Stuart J.
While most previous research has implied or assumed that the conversational structure giving each speaker a turn to speak is universally normative, findings of one study suggest that in interactions with at least four participants, alternatives to this rule are possible. A phenomenon called "conversational fission" occurs when a four- (or more) person conversation departs from the one-person-one-turn format and two or more subconversations occur, allocating multiple speaker and multiple listener roles. This pattern is illustrated in a six-person conversation, both in speech and in body, head, and eye movements. At some point, two or more participants may self-select to speak simultaneously, and the situation is either repaired by one or more speakers becoming silent, or becomes two or more simultaneous conversations. This initial simultaneous talk may be an invitation to fission and may also involve a search by the simultaneous speakers for an available subgroup of listeners. The dyadic turn-taking model should be revised to account for turns taken simultaneously in non dyadic conversations, a multi systemic interaction pattern. This pattern also argues against the assumption of verbal hegemony in interaction with the related consideration that the right to speak is inherently limited rather than interactionally controlled and negotiated. (Author/MSE)
Descriptors: Dialogs (Language), Discourse Analysis, Discussion, Group Dynamics, Interpersonal Communication, Sociocultural Patterns, Sociolinguistics
Southwest Educational Development Laboratory, 211 East 7th St., Austin, TX 78701.
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Education (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Southwest Educational Development Lab., Austin, TX.