Zimmerman and West:
Interruptions are generally considered
to be violations of the rules of
conversation. Particularly in cultures
such as the United States, where a
study was carried out at the UCLA, it
is important that the gap between
turns be kept short.
This may lead to overlaps at the end
of the first speaker's turn and the
beginning of the next speaker's turn.
During the turn of the first speaker the
addressee will provide agreement or
encouragement through short
Evidence of Interruptions/Overlaps.
Extract of Mixed sex Conversation – War in Iraq
1. Do you even remember why were in er, Iraq?
2. It was somethin’ to do with that erm, 9/11 thing. Well, what I can
remember it was a erm operation to try and stop that Bin Laden
fella’. To stop terrorism.
3. Well it hasn’t worked! But if they cant find him what's the point?
Cos all of our bloody soldiers are getting killed over there most of
them are only young lads!
4. I know but its not like years ago when they got forced into the
army. They’ve all done it out of their own choice. They should
know if there going in the er army then its likely summats going to
1 = Nana 2=Granddad
Cross-sex conversations Male Female Total
4 1 5
6 8 14
This table shows the interruptions/overlaps in the
whole conversation. It follows the stereotypical
conventions for Overlaps with males dominating but
as we get to Interruptions the female in the
conversation is more dominant. This is unusual as it
doesn’t follow conventions and this could be for
many reasons but I would say that this is due to the
age of the speakers, and how they view social
Evidence of Interruptions/Overlaps
Single Sex Conversation - Exams
1. How do you reckon you did with your maths?
2. Not to bad I actually like the questions we got.
1. Well I knew everything but one thing.
2. Yeah well so did I.
1. I think I’ve easily done ….
2. I know I got the best marks
1. Well am not looking forward the non calculator paper
2. OH next week!
1. What days it on again?
2. Haven’t got a clue...
Same-sex conversations Female Female Total
Overlaps 4 3 7
Interruptions 11 9 14
This table shows that in same sex
conversations, especially all female ones,
encounters are fairly equal which goes along
with the order that Zimmerman and West
These conversation show that males are
mainly more dominant in mixed sex
conversations which can be seen as a way
of gaining authority. Where as power is
fairly equal in same-sex conversations. It
was shown however that in all male
conversations there were more
interruptions/overlaps than in all-female