Structure of Conversation

Excerpt from "Utterance overlap and long silence among the Baka Pygmies: Compairson with Bantu farmers and Japanese university students" by Daiji Kimura: African Study Monographs, Kyoto University: "...Abstract: The temporal structure of conversation was studied among the Baka Pygmies in southeastern Cameroon, in comparison with those of the adjacent Bakwele (Bantu farmer), and Japanese university students. A time sampling method was applied to analyze utterance overlap patterns. In Baka conversation, utterance overlap was not used strategically to take conversational turns, but rather a form of behavioral synchronization. Similarly, long silence was not a failure in the turn-taking, nor indication of the termination of a conversation, boundary of a sentence, or politeness, but can be regarded as a “mode of co-presence.” The Baka can co-present without continuous mutual utterance, probably because they live in a “high-context” situation..."

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