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In their informal verbal exchanges people tend to follow the ‘one speaker at the time’ rule (Schegloff, 1968). The use of the term ‘turn-taking’ to describe the process in which this rule operates in human conversation is relatively recent, and attributed to Yngve (1970) and Goffman (1967) by Duncan (1972).
Especially since the famous 1974 paper by Harvey Sacks, Emanuel Schegloff, & Gail Jefferson in the journal Language, which marks the birth of the sociological discipline now called Conversation Analysis (CA), turn-taking in conversation has attracted attention from a variety of disciplines.
In this chapter, I will briefly summarize the main theoretical approaches and contro- versies regarding turn-taking, followed by some reflections on different ways it can be studied experimentally.