4.2.1.5 Topic development

The three girls participate in joint topic construction; noticeably at lines 3-15, where the discussion shifts its focus onto the character of Kate. G2 and G3 are the main agents of this development; G1 is not as enthusiastic about this line of discussion initially, but is persuaded by G2 and G3 (see 4.2.1.3 above). In this respect they are all co-operative.

B1's comments do not contribute to the discussion on Kate. His contributions, in so far as they are completed, appear to be sudden topic shifts: they are tangential to the direction the discussion has taken, though relevant to the original question (35- 37, 47-48). This is particularly true of lines 47- 48, when he asks "what about all the other songs though", which is a complete change of direction from the discussion up to that point.

This is another aspect of the discussion where the girls are selectively co-operative. They exhibit the co-operative skill of joint topic development, but do so to one another, and not to B1 or B2. Through joint topic development, they produce a discussion to which all three girls contribute. By discussing a female character's romance and marriage, they may have selected a topic which effectively excludes B1 and B2.

The exclusion of B1 is the result of the behaviour of all members of the group. He does not participate in the co-operative development of the topic, but the girls' selective use of co-operative topic development also contributes to his exclusion.


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