Turns and turn-taking in sign language interaction: A study of turn-final holds
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Journal of Pragmatics
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This article examines a recurrent phenomenon in sign language interaction: the freezing of a sign, called a ‘hold’, in turn-final position. This phenomenon is traditionally described as a prosodic feature that contributes to the rhythm of signed talk and to the marking of syntactic boundaries, hence not adding any propositional content on its own. A detailed observation of these holds in naturally occurring conversational data, however, raises the following questions: What is the relevance of such holds in the management of turn-taking? What meaningful social action do they accomplish? Based on 90 min of video-recordings of Swiss German Sign Language (DSGS) interaction within an institutional setting, we undertake micro-sequential and multimodal analyses yielding the following findings (1) turnfinal holds occur recurrently in turns that set a strong action projection (e.g. questions), (2) they embody the current speaker’s expectations regarding next actions; and therefore (3) their release is finely tuned to the recognizability of the relevant and expected next action in progress.
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Resource Types::text::journal::journal article