Topic Maintenance and Topic Transition in a Couple’s Dinnertime Conversation

  •  Saleh Batais    


This paper investigates the patterns of topic maintenance and topic transition used to create conversation and their accompanying structural features speakers employ to signal these two conversational phenomena. The data are a 21-minute dyadic dinnertime conversation between a boyfriend and girlfriend; they are both native speakers of American English, in their late twenties. The two significant findings of the study are as follows. First, the data reveal that the speakers used three major techniques, namely minimal responses, substitutions, and deletions, to maintain the same topic of the conversation (Goffman, 1983; Radford & Tarplee, 2000; Abu Akel, 2002; Sukrutrit, 2010; Jeon, 2012). Second, in the analysis of topic transition, the data show that the speakers resorted to different types of topic transitions (i.e., collaborative, unilateral, linked, minimally linked, and sudden) to end an ongoing topic and start a new one (West & Garcia, 1988; Ainsworth-Vaughn, 1992; Okamoto & Smith-Lovin, 2001; Sukrutrit, 2010; Jeon, 2012).

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1923-869X
  • ISSN(Online): 1923-8703
  • Started: 2011
  • Frequency: bimonthly

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