ABSTRACT: One of the grossly apparent facts about conversation is that speakers take turns to talk (Sacks, Schegloff & Jefferson 1974). Both syntactic and prosodic cues contribute to the smooth transition between conversational turns (Couper-Kuhlen & Ford 2004, Ford & Thompson 1996). Two prominent and similar turn-holding devices have been identified, namely, rush-through (Schegloff 1982, 1998) and latching (Liddicoat 2007), which enable speakers to bid for turn continuation beyond possible completion of a turn. However, systematic and detailed examination of their exact phonetic design has been reported only recently for the English data (Walker 2003, 2010). In this study, data from naturally-occurring Mandarin Chinese conversations have been examined for prosodic correlates which are associated with turn continuation. These correlates include pitch variation, intensity, and vowel duration. It is found that prosodic cues vary between the two turn-holding devices. The findings have also been compared with those reported for English conversations. This research contributes to cross-linguistic investigation of the prosody that constitutes turn-holding functions in conversation. Acknowledgement: This study is supported by the General Research Fund [CityU 151408] awarded by the Hong Kong Research Grants Council.
The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 04/2012; 131(4):3234. · 1.55 Impact Factor