Practices in the Construction of Turns: The "TCU" Revisited

  • Ford C
  • Fox B
  • Thompson S
  • 54


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Introduction part : [This study began with a simple question that has been on our minds, indMdually and collectively, for some time: What are the basic units of talk-in-conversation? Units in conversation must be understood as usable for the construction of joint activitiesn, ot merely as packages of information to be parsed. Features of turn constructiona re adapted to such functions as displaying responsivenesst o other turns and making interpretable contributions to an ongoing interactional sequence. Furthermore, timing of speaker onset is crucial to the making of meaning in conversation whether that onset is produced in overlap, after some gap, or precisely at the point where a current speaker stops. It has been manifestly clear for some time that, for the description of the basic units of talk-in-interaction, neither a strictlys yntactic/semantinc or a strictly prosodic approach to conversationalu nits will suffice by itself (Schegloff 1996); "sentences" and "clauses" are only part of the picture,b ut "tone units" (Crystal 7969;C ruttenden 1986) or "intonation units" (Chafe 1987, 1988, 1992, 7993, 1994; Du Bois et al. 1993) are also only part of the picture. The basic conversational unit must be an amalgam of at least these two types of units, but its niche in a developing interactional context must also play a major part in its construction.]

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  • Cecilia E Ford

  • Barbara A Fox

  • Sandra A Thompson

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