he claims, describes the actual occurrence of two people talking at the same time whereas interruption is an interpretation that conversational participants use to make decisions (and judgments) about rights and obligations within a situation.
Tannen ( 1984), in analyzing a Thanksgiving dinner among friends, found that overlapping speech was both comfortable and well received when used by participants of similar conversational styles. These participants describe overlapping talk as showing interest and involvement. Tannen ( 1989b) also argues that overlapping speech is often neither intended nor perceived as interruption and that perceived interruptions are often not the fault or intention of a speaker but rather the result of style differences, the interaction of two differing turn-taking systems.
The point is that people make determinations about their conversational exchanges, including when to take a turn, based on factors other than syntactic units. Turns come about as speakers understand the purpose of talking together, their roles and relationships, and how a speech event is emerging in particular and in its relationship to the larger world.
O'Connell et al. ( 1990) review turn taking studies based on the Sacks et al. model and agree with sociolinguistic and discourse studies that the Sacks et al. model cannot stand alone, given studies that demonstrate "continuous participation on the part of all the interlocutors" (365). As discourse analysts argue, turn-taking is not a conversational mechanism operating outside of speaker intent, but rather depends on conversational purposes. They call for context-sensitive approaches for redefining turns, back-channeling, overlap, and interruption that would remain consistent across research projects. This study answers this call to merge the Sacks et al. model with a context-sensitive analysis of interpreted discourse.
Turn-taking then is a discourse process which can help us understand how the exchange of messages actually takes place. Turn-taking is also a feature of discourse that allows for both a structural and functional analysis. In the chapters that follow, I have four goals: (1) to begin outlining the universal elements of an interpreted event; (2) to describe the turn- taking elements and process of an interpreted event as a discourse system; (3) to illuminate how this particular event is a process of each participant engaging with others; and (4) how the role of the interpreter is a