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Larrue, J., Trognon, A. (1993). Organization of turn-taking and machanisms for turn-taking repairs in a chaired meeting. Journal of Pragmatics, 19, 177-196.


In their famous article published in 1974, Sacks, Schegloff and Jefferson studied the organization of turn-taking in conversations, and proposed a model alleged to be both context- and content-independent. However, they evoke specific exchange formats where the system of rules in effect is obviously not the one described in the model. These include meetings, interview, debates, and ceremonies, to which we might add, among other things, speech exchanges in the school or in a legal environment. Some of these formats have since been described, namely, classroom conversation (Sinclair and Coulthard 1975; Coulthard 19977 ; McHoul 1978). But as Sacks, Schegloss, and Jefferson also state, the turn-taking system in effect in informal conversations may be a central component of the one that governs more formal interactions, such that the formal system would in some sense have an additional set of secondary-level features not contained in the informal system and that different turn-taking systems (may be) involved (Sacks et al. 1974: 701). The present article attempts to demonstrate this by studying the turn-taking sequence of a political meeting. After presenting an excerpt of the meeing, we shall first brielfly summarize the rules gouverning turn-taking in ordinary conversations in order to examine (1) how the rules are modified in this particular context, and (2) how the participants orient themselves with respect to those rules. We shall see that this particular turn-taking system, heaafter called the specific system, generates conversational problems of its own and provides strategic opportunities for the meeting's participants

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