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Turn Allocation: Rule 4

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Rule 4

Recursive application of Rules 1-3

In the previous analysis (reproduced below for ease of access) we have seen that when Rule 3 has been applied, i.e. the current speaker chooses to continue with their turn at talk because they have not selected the next speaker and no other speaker has self-selected as the next speaker, then the three rules operate recursively at every subsequent transition relevance place.

Conversation extract

1 Jane:    [TCU anyway that’s what I think]

2          [TRP-Rule 3]

3          [TCU I could be wrong]

4          [TRP-Rule 3]

5          [TCU I don’t have a strong view] [TRP-Rule 2]

6 Anne:    [TCU mm] [TRP-Rule 2]

7 Sue:     [TCU yeah]

To reiterate, we saw how Jane continued with her turn at talk in line 3 with the utterance I could be wrong as a consequence of the application of Rule 3. At the transition relevance place marked by the end of this turn-constructional unit (line 4) all three rules were once more applied. We first considered whether or not Rule 1 was applicable, i.e. did Jane select the next speaker? The answer is, of course, no. We then considered Rule 2, i.e. did any other interlocutor self-select as the next speaker? Again, the answer is no. We finally considered Rule 3, i.e. in the absence of Jane selecting the next speaker and no other participant self-selecting as the next speaker, did Jane continue? The answer to this is yes. She continued with her talk in line 5 with I don’t have a strong view.

We continue with our analysis in just this way at every available transition relevance place. The next one in the current sequence occurs at the end of Jane’s line 5 utterance I don’t have a strong view. Again we consider the application of each rule at this transition relevance place. Does Rule 1 apply? No. Does Rule 2 apply? Yes. It applies because Anne self-selects as the next speaker by speaking first in line 6 with the back channel token mm. Thus, after a series of three turns at talk by Jane (lines 1, 3 and 5), speaker change is eventually effected in line 6 by Anne taking up the talk.

We see then how Rules 1-3 are applied recursively at every available transition relevance place until a change is effected from one speaker to another. This management procedure may be summarized as follows.


When Rule 3 has been selected by the CURRENT SPEAKER, then Rules 1-3 apply at the next transition relevance place, and recursively at the next transition relevance place, until speaker change is effected.

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