The temporal structure of natural telephone conversations (directory enquiry calls)

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Investigations of face-to-face conversation have suggested that visuallymediated cues play an important role in the regulation of speaker-turns. By implication, conversational structure should be disrupted in no-vision conditions. This study tested this hypothesis by focussing on natural telephone conversations — directory enquiry calls. The results suggest that the management of speaker-switching, as measured by the temporal characteristics of the transitions, was not impaired in natural telephone conversations. The vast majority of the measures also indicated that operators and subscribers were behaving very similarly in terms of the temporal characteristics of switching, despite considerable differences in their experience. © Mouton Publishers.




Beattie, G. W., & Barnard, P. J. (1979). The temporal structure of natural telephone conversations (directory enquiry calls). Linguistics, 17(3–4), 213–230.

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