4.2.2.5 Topic development

The discussion is slow moving; neither boy takes very long turns, and there are frequently long pauses between turns. Because of the long pauses between turns, there is a disjointed quality to the discussion. The informational content of the conversation is low; much of the talk refers exophorically to the cards in front of the boys, which they rearrange with minimum discussion. As a result, the talk follows closely their arrangements of the cards, without really developing into a discussion of the problems facing soldiers, or the difficulty of keeping certain rules (although they do briefly comment of both these aspects of the task). Neither B3 nor B4 suddenly changes the topic, or rejects a topic the other has raised, so they are not competitive in this respect. Each responds to the other's previous turn, so it is possible to describe both as co-operative. However, in this short discussion, the behaviour of the speakers appears to be a result of inertia as much as co-operativeness.


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