Interaction Management in Nigerian Television Talk Shows

Albert Lekan Oyeleye, Omolara Grace Olutayo


Although there is a growing number of works on discourse analysis in Nigeria which covers classroom interactions, courtroom discourse, medical communication and media discourse, the language of television (TV) talk shows has not been fully explored. This study therefore, examined turn management in this genre. It identified the turn distribution strategies in Nigerian television talk shows and the contributions of these strategies to the management of the talks. Sacks, Schegloff and Jefferson’s Conversation Analysis served as our theoretical framework. Three Nigerian TV talk shows, namely, “Patito’s Gang”, “New Dawn with Funmi Iyanda” and “Inside Out” were selected for this study. Each selected talk show comprised four sampled episodes. “Patito’s Gang” from a private television station; “New Dawn with Funmi Iyanda” from a national television station and “Inside Out” from a private television station were purposively selected because they were handled by freelance presenters who were free from undue interference. Collection of data spanned four years: 2004-2008. And the analysis was both quantitative and qualitative. Generally, three turn distribution strategies were identified: Current-Speaker-Selects–Next-Speaker, Next-Speaker-Self-Selects-as-Next and Current-Speaker-Continues (where there is no pre-selection or self-selection). Current speaker selected next speaker by direct questioning, gaze and gestures. Next speaker self-selected as next through interruptions, overlaps, discourse markers, pauses and falling intonation. Where there was no pre-selection or self-selection at Transition Relevance Places, the current speaker continued after a pause of about half a second or more. These strategies enabled effective interaction management amongst the participants as turn allocation was not restricted but moderated by the hosts.

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International Journal of English Linguistics   ISSN 1923-869X (Print)   ISSN 1923-8703 (Online)   E-mail:

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