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ERIC Number: ED398747
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1994
Pages: 13
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Spanish and American Turn-Taking Styles: A Comparative Study.
Berry, Anne
A comparative study of turn-taking in North American and Spanish conversation investigated (1) differences in styles for the two cultures and (2) any resulting misinterpretation of communicative intentions. Data for the first were drawn from two dinner parties, one with four American women, conducted in English, and one with four Spanish-speaking women, conducted in Spanish. Analysis of the conversations focused on overlap, measured in syllables, and pause, measured in seconds. The major finding was more occasions of overlap than expected in both English and Spanish conversations, and much greater duration of overlap in the Spanish conversation. In both languages, overlaps were caused by various frequent but usually unintentional patterns such as simultaneous starts, additions to an utterance after appearing to have finished it, interruptions, and sharing of the same information. The difference in average length of overlap is attributed to three patterns in Spanish: longer back-channel utterances, including repetition; use of collaborative sequences; and continued speaking during overlap. Interviews with the participants about previous interaction with the other culture showed the potential for cross cross-cultural misunderstanding was increased in those areas where turn-taking styles in Spanish and English differed, particularly differing quantity of overlap and backchannel behaviors. (MSE)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A