Language in Society



Organizing a remote state of incipient talk: Push-to-talk mobile radio interaction


MARGARET H. SZYMANSKI AND ERIK  VINKHUYZEN  a1 and PAUL M. AOKI AND ALLISON  WOODRUFF  a2
a1 Palo Alto Research Center, 3333 Coyote Hill Road, Palo Alto, CA 94304, Peggy.Szymanski@parc.com
a2 Intel Research Berkeley, 2150 Shattuck Ave., Ste. 1300, Berkeley, CA 94704

Article author query
vinkhuyzen mhsae   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
woodruff pmaaa   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 

Abstract

This study investigates the organization of conversational interaction via push-to-talk mobile radios. Operating like long-range walkie-talkies, the mobile radios mediate a remote state of incipient talk; at the push of a button, speakers can initiate, engage, disengage, and reengage turn-by-turn talk. Eight friends used the mobile radios for one week; 50 of their conversational exchanges were analyzed using conversation analytic methods. The findings describe the contour of their conversational exchanges: how turn-by-turn talk is engaged, sustained, and disengaged. Similar to a continuing state of incipient talk in copresence, opening and closing sequences are rare. Instead, speakers engage turn-by-turn talk by immediately launching the purpose of the call. Speakers disengage turn-by-turn talk by orienting to the relevance of a lapse at sequence completion. Once engaged, the mobile radio system imposes silence between speakers' turns at talk, giving them a resource for managing a remote conversation amid ongoing copresent activities. a

(Received August 9 2004)
(Revised August 9 2005)
(Accepted May 17 2005)


Key Words: continuing state of incipient talk; conversation analysis; reengaging and disengaging talk; mobile radio communication.


Footnotes

a We are grateful to Mimi and her friends for making it possible to collect this data. We also thank Jim Thornton, Marilyn Whalen, Paul Drew, Bob Moore and Luke Plurkowski for their helpful insights.



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