Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
×
Home

Who's got the floor?

  • Carole Edelsky (a1)
Abstract

This study into the nature of “the floor” actually began as an open-ended inquiry into sex differences that might occur beyond the sentence level in the multi-party interaction of five informal committee meetings. Technical difficulties prompted the trying out of several different transcription displays, most of which failed to capture the “feel” of the interaction and each of which biased (in its own way) the perception of what had actually gone on. The type of unconventional display eventually used was intended to show the floor holder in the center of the page, flanked by co-occurring talk. Because there were many episodes for which a single floor holder could not be identified, the primary focus of the study shifted to the nature of the floor itself. Questions about sex differences became a secondary and succeeding focus.

In the analysis, “floor” and “turn” were distinguished on the basis of “participant-sense” rather than technical criteria. Two kinds of floors were subjectively identified: F1, a singly developed floor; and F2, a collaborative venture where several people seemed to be either operating on the same wavelength or engaging in a free-for-all. The two kinds of floors were differentiated objectively by such features as quantity and frequency participation, language functions, number of nonturn utterances, overlaps, and pauses. There were indeed sex/language differences, but these were related to the type of floor being developed. Men took more and longer turns and did more of the joking, arguing, directing, and soliciting of responses F1 's. Turn length and frequency differences were neutralized in F2's, and certain language functions were used by women to a greater extent in F2's than in F1 's. (Conversational analysis, gender and language, qualitative research methodology.)

Copyright
References
Hide All
Aleguire, D. (1978). Interruptions as turn-taking. Paper presented at 9th World Congress of Sociology, Upsala, Sweden.
Atkinson, M., Cuff, E., & Lee, J. (1978). The recommencement of a meeting as a member's accomplishment. In Schenkein, J. (ed.), Studies in the organization of conversational interaction. New York: Academic Press.
Bleiberg, S., & Churchill, L. (1975). Notes on confrontation in conversation. Journal of psycholinguistic research 4 (3): 273378.
Blumer, H. (1969). Symbolic interactionisism: Perspective and method. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall.
Brown, P., & Levinson, S. (1978). Universals in language usage: Politeness phenomena. In Goody, E. (ed). Questions and politeness: Strategies in social interaction. Cambridge University Press.
Burke, J. (1979). Interruptions and overlap. Department of Speech Communication, University of Illinois, Urbana. Unpublished manuscript.
Cicourel, A. (no date). Three models of discourse analysis: The role of social structure. Department of Sociology, University of California. San Diego. Unpublished manuscript.
Coser, R. (1960). Laughter among colleagues. Psychiatry 23: 8195.
Dubois, B.. & Crouch, I. (1976). Proceedings of the conference on the sociology of the languages of American women. San Antonio, Tx.: Trinity University Press.
Duncan, S. (1972). Some signals and rules for taking speaking turns in conversations. Journal of personality and social psychology 23 (2): 283–93.
Duncan, S. (1973). Toward a grammar for dyadic conversation. Semiotica 9 2946.
Duncan, S., & Niederehe, G. (1974). On signalling that it's your turn to speak. Journal of experimental social psychology 10: 234–47.
Eakins, B., & Eakins, O. (1978). Sex differences in human communication. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
Edelsky, C. (1978). Genderlects: A brief review of the literature. Paper presented at annual meeting of NCTE, Kansas City. Available on Eric microfiche no. ED 165 187.
Erickson, F. (1977). Some approaches to inquiry in school-community ethnography. Anthropology amtd education quarterly 8 (2): 5869.
Esau, H., & Bristol-Poth, A. (1981). Contextual Constraints on conversational turn-taking. In C. Edelsky (ed). Conversational analysis: Nem perspectives. Special issue of Journal of the Linguistic Association of the Southwest 4(1).
Fishman, P. (1978). Interaction: The work women do. Social problems 24: 397406.
Garfinkel, H. (1972). Remarks on ethnomethodology. In Gumperz, J. & Hymes, D. (eds.), Directions in sociolinguistics. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston.
Glaser, B., & Strauss, A. (1967). The discovery of groumtded theory: Strategies for qualitative research. New York: Aldine.
Goffman, E. (1967). Interaction ritual: Essays on face-to-face behavior. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday/Anchor.
Goffman, E. (1971). Relations in public. New York: Harper & Row.
Goffman, E. (1976). Replies and responses. Language in society. 5 257311.
Goffman, E. (1981). Forms of talk. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
Goodwin, C. (1980). Review of S. Duncan & D. Fiske, Face-to-face interaction: Research, methods, and theory. Language in Society 8 (3): 439–44.
Goody, E. (1978). Towards a theory of questions. In Goody, E. (ed). Questions and politeness: Strategies in social interaction. Cambridge University Press.
Hakuta, K., & Cancino, H. (1977). Trends in second-language-acquisition research. Harvard educational review 47 (3): 294316.
Hymes, D. (1977). Qualitative/quantitative research methodologies in education: A linguistic perspective. Anthropology and education quarterly 8 (2): 165–76.
Jefferson, G. (1972). Side sequences. In Sudnow, D. (ed), Studies in social interaction. New York: Macmillan.
Jefferson, G. (1973). A case of precision timing in ordinary conversation: Overlapped tag-positioned address terms in closing sequences. Semiotica 9 4796.
Jefferson, G., & Schenkein, J. (1978). Some sequential negotiations in conversation. In Schenkein, J. (ed). Studies in the organization of conversational interaction. New York: Academic Press.
Kalčik, S. (1975).… like Ann's gynecologist or the time I was almost raped: Personal narratives in women's rap groups. Journal of American folklore 88 (347–50): 3–12.
Kendon, A. (1967). Some functions of gaze-direction in social interaction. Acta psychologica 26: 2263.
Kramer, C. (1975). Women's speech: Separate but unequal? In Thome, B. & Henley, N. (eds.), Language and sex: Difference and dominance. Rowley, Mass.: Newbury House.
Kramer, C., Thorne, B., & Henley, N. (1978). Perspectives on language and communication. Signs: Journal of women in culture and society 3 (3): 638–51.
Labov, W. (1972). Rules for ritual insults. In Sudnow, D. (ed). Studies in social interaction. New York: Macmillan.
McConnell-Ginet, S., Borker, R., & Furman, N. (eds.), (1980). Women and language in literature and society. New York: Praeger.
Mchoul, A. (1978). The organization of turns at formal talk in the classroom. Language in society 7: 183213.
Mehan, H. (1974). Accomplishing classroom lessons. In Cicourel, A. et al. (eds.), Language use and school performance. New York: Academic Press.
Mehan, H. (1978). Structuring school structure. Harvard educational review 48(1): 3264.
Meltzer, L., Morris, W., & Hayes, D. (1971). Interruption outcomes and vocal amplitude: Explorations in social psychophysics. Journal of personality and social psychology 18 (3): 392402.
Nichols, P. (1978). Dynamic variation as a model for the study of language and sex. Paper presented at 9th World Congress of Sociology, Upsala, Sweden.
Ochs, E. (1979). Prescription as theory. In Ochs, E. & Schieffelin, B. (eds.), Developmental pragmatics. New York: Academic Press.
O'Keefe, B., Delia, J., & O'Keefe, D. (1980). Interaction analysis and the analysis of interactional organization. In Denzin, N. (ed), Studies in symbolic interaction, III. New York: Johnson Associates.
Philips, S. (1976). Some sources of cultural variability in the regulation of talk. Language in society 5 8195.
Philips, S.(in progress). The invisible culture: Communication in classrooms and community on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation. Chapter 7: “Getting the Floor” in the Classroom.
Reisman, K. (1974). Contrapuntal conversations in an Antiguan village. In Bauman, R. & Sherzer, J. (eds.), Explorations in the ethnography of speaking. Cambridge University Press.
Sacks, H., Schegloff, E., & Jefferson, G.A simplest systematics for the organization of turn-taking for conversation. Language 50: 696735.
Schegloff, E. (1972a). Notes on a conversational practice: Formulating place. In Giglioli, P. (ed), Language and social context. Baltimore. Md.: Penguin.
Schegloff, E. (1972b). Sequencing in conversational openings. In Gumperz, J. & Hymes, D. (eds.), Directions in sociolinguistics. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston.
Schegloff, E.. & Sacks, H. (1973). Opening up closings. Semiotica 8: 283327.
Schenkein, J. (1978). Studies in the organization of conversational interaction. New York: Academic Press.
Shapiro, D. (1976). Conversational structures and accurate empathy: An exploratory study. British journal of social and clinical psychology 15: 213–15.
Shultz, J.. Florio, S.. & Erickson, F. (in press). Where's the floor: Aspects of the cultural organization of social relationships in communication at home and at school. In Gilmore, P. & Glaithorn, A. (eds.). Ethnographv and education: Children in and out of school. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
Soskin, W., & John, V. (1963). The study of spontaneous talk. In Barker, R. (ed), The stream of behavior. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts.
Speier, M. (1972). Some conversational problems for interactional analysis. In Sudnow, D. (ed.). Studies in social interaction. New York: Macmillan.
Spelke, E., Hirst, W.. & Neisser, U. (1976). Skills of divided attention. Cognition: 215–30.
Stephan, F.. & Mishler, E. (1952). The distribution of participation in small groups: An exponential approximation. American sociological review 17: 598608.
Stokes, R.. & Hewitt, J. (1976). Aligning actions. American sociological review 41: 838–49.
Thorne, B.. & Henley, N. (1975). Language and sex: Difference and dominance. Rowley, Mass.: Newbury House.
Turner, R. (1972). Some formal properties of therapy talk. In Sudnow, D. (ed.). Studies in social interaction. New York: Macmillan.
VanDijk, T. (1977). Context and cognition: Knowledge frames and speech act comprehension. Journal of pragmnatics I: 211–32.
Webster's Third New International Dictionary of the English Language, unabridged. (1971). Chicago: G. & C. Merriam.
West, C. (1977). Against our will: Negotiating interruptions in male-female conversations. Paper presented at New York Academy of Sciences. New York.
Yngve, V. (1970). On getting a word in edgewise. Papers from the 6th regional meeting of the Chicago Linguistic Society. 567–78.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Language in Society
  • ISSN: 0047-4045
  • EISSN: 1469-8013
  • URL: /core/journals/language-in-society
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed