Aspects of Turn Taking in Child-adult Dyads in Semi-institutional Interactions


Jenny Tarng

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Date of Award

Spring 2019


Gaps, pauses, and turn lengths in turn taking in child-adult dyadic interactions in semi-institutional settings are investigated in this study. Conversation analyses of video transcripts of The Ellen Degeneres Show, Little Big Shots, and The Steve Harvey Show were analyzed using the audio and video software tools Praat and ELAN. Ten video clips, approximately 3 to 5 minutes in length, featuring children ages 3 to 6 years old were selected for the study. The purpose of this study is to analyze turn-taking features during verbal interactions between a child and an adult in a public setting. To my knowledge, there is no research that examines the systematic organization of turn taking in child-adult in semi-institutional interactions as opposed to interactions of children with their caregivers and siblings in a familiar setting. This study shows that in a semi-institutional setting, children up to 6 years old are communicatively competent and able to achieve minimal gap and overlap transitions in child-adult interactions. Children and adults are both actively ensuring a smooth interaction through adult mediation and children's active role in anticipating and predicting turns. Analysis of turn-taking features used in conversations in child-adult in semi-institutional interactions between adults and children and gender differences in children could impact our understanding of the active roles children take in their own language acquisition.Keywords: gaps, pauses, turn length, turn taking, child-adult interactions, talk show, language acquisition


Salvatore Attardo

Subject Categories

Linguistics | Social and Behavioral Sciences