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Turn Taking Patterns in Deaf Conversation

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

  • J Coates
  • RL Sutton-Spence
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)507 - 529
Number of pages160
JournalJournal of Sociolinguistics
Volume5 (4)
DatePublished - Nov 2001


This paper will focus on the turn-taking patterns of Deaf signers and will compare them with turn-taking patterns found in spoken interaction. Turn-taking in the conversation of hearing people has been the subject of considerable attention, but the way conversation is organised by Deaf conversationalists has received less attention. This paper reports on a small project involving conversational data obtained from two Deaf friendship groups, one all-female and one all-male. Our main aim was to establish whether Deaf interactants orient to a one-at-a-time model of turn-taking, or whether there was any evidence to suggest they can also orient to a more collaborative model. It has been assumed by researchers in the field of Deaf Studies that Deaf interactants orient to a one-at-a-time model since, where the medium of communication is visual rather than sound based, participants can attend to only those sources of talk that they can see. The paper also examines the data to see if there are any gender differences in the way Deaf interactants organise conversation.

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Publisher: Blackwell Publishing



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