4.2.3.5 Topic development

Topic change in this discussion is also marked with competitive linguistic choices. G4 uses competitive strategies in her role of chair to keep the discussion moving, and to prevent B5 from following his own agenda. B5 uses competitive strategies in attempts to retain the floor, and complete his own arguments. An instance of this occurs at lines 84-88.

84. B5: can you not get a bit of plastic and make

85. B5: it into a sculpture or something like that (.) or a

86. B5: bit of a bit of clay

G4: (going onto the other) questions (.)

87. B5: dinna hurry me I'm I'm trying to explain

G4: right (.)

88. G4: right (where are we)

G4 here cuts into B5's turn before he has finished, and abruptly changes the topic. She appears to be trying to cut short his contribution, so to enable the group to complete the set task; time is clearly running out as the teacher asks immediately afterwards if they are ready yet. The linguistic forms she uses are competitive ones - interruption and abrupt topic shift. B5 explicitly challenges her change of topic, with an aggravated directive: "dinna hurry me". Both G4 and B5 use competitive linguistic devices at this topic change.

Another example of abrupt topic shift occurs at lines 7-8, in which B6 participates in support of G4.

7. B5: yeah

B6: (.) go onto

G4: but you still wouldn't believe in it ((laugh))

8. B5: I dinna really ken (.) ken

B6: the next one= (XXXX) oh sh

G4: =right (.) Loch Ness is is very large deep

B6 gives an unmitigated directive to G4: "go on to the next one", helping her to extract herself from a futile argument with B5. B5 rejects the topic shift, and continues with the previous topic, speaking while G4 has the floor to do so, and incurring an "oh sh" from B6.

This discussion has the abrupt topic shifts of a competitive discussion. While B5 may be the immediate cause of this, G4 also participates, again showing herself to be able to use competitive linguistic strategies.


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