4.2.4.5 Topic development

There are many aspects of topic development in this discussion which are co-operative. There is only one abrupt topic shift, and on the other two occasions when the topic changes, it is only after explicit consensus has been reached by all participating speakers. There is also a relatively high frequency of joint turn construction between some of the group members. An aspect of this may be that no pupil has been given the role of chair, and so the responsibility for the discussion is officially shared by all group members. Although G5 takes a more authoritative role, and G8 speaks very little, the distribution of responsibility is nevertheless more equally divided than in groups where one pupil has been made responsible for the progress of the discussion by the classroom teacher. An example of topic shift where all four group members explicitly reach consensus before G7 introduces a shift of topic at lines 26-29:

26. G5: then she'll either (XXXX) go into mourning for

G7: I don't think she will

27. G5: seven years=

G6: =neither do I because it's far too l. long=

G7: =so

28. G5: =I know=

G6: =oh no way=

G7: what was the (XXXX) =so

G8: she'll never manage to stick it out=

29. G5: =ehm a=

G6: (.) I would (.) I think

G7: what one's first= =a (.) aye

Joint turn construction also takes place frequently between G5 and G6, as at lines 63- 69, for example:

63. G5: uhuh instead of him=

G6: love with (.) Viola now =yeah (.) and he could

64. G6: pu. put her out of her job (.) you know (.) take her job

65. G5: so she just (XXXX)

G6: and then she could tell him that she's a woman (.) you know

66. G5:

G6: with her short hair (.) and he could (.) she could say

67. G6: that she only went to work there because noone would

68. G5: =and she heard that the Duke was

G6: employ her as a woman= and

69. G5: nice= uhuh

G6: =and sh. sh she loved him or something like that

Joint turn construction also takes place between G6 and G7, for example at lines 30- 33:

30. G6: =how's the Duke going

31. G6: to find out Viola's a woman though=

G7: =because she doesn't want

32. G7: anyone to find out and then (.) if anyone's going to (.)

33. G7: if the Duke finds out then everyone'll find out=

Despite this apparent co-operativeness, joint turn construction does not occur between G5 and G7, nor between G8 and any other group member except in the example of lines 26-29 given above. G8 attempts to make a sudden shift of topic at lines 69-71:

69. G6: =and sh. sh she loved him or something like that=

G8: =why

70. G8: not start listing down from what's going to be most

71. G8: unlikely

G5, G6, and G7 use joint topic construction to an extent, although selectively. G8 does not use this feature co-operatively.


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