4.2.3.9 Summary of Group III discussion

In this discussion, the speakers display few co-operative features, and many competitive ones. There is a low rate of epistemic modality, back channel support, and supportive lexical repetition. Turns are very unequal in length, there are high rates of interruption, questions and tag questions are mostly coercive. One speaker, B5, dominates: he makes unmitigated assertions, he interrupts other speakers, he attempts to control the topic, he speaks more than anyone else in the group, he does not encourage other speakers to take the floor, he does not provide back channel support.

The other speakers in the group react to B5 in kind: there is a high frequency of other competitive features, and a low rate of co-operative ones for all speakers, except that G4, B6 and B7 all supply B5 with a degree of back channel support. G4, the chair, interrupts B5, and unmitigatedly contradicts his proposals. She uses many of the strategies B5 uses. The other two speakers, B6 and B7 also use the same competitive strategies, although they speak less frequently. G4, B6, and B7 do not display competitive features in their exchanges with each other to the extent they do in their exchanges with B5. As B5 speaks half the words in the entire discussion, the other three speakers are usually reacting to him rather than to each other. However, there is enough evidence to suggest that B5's behaviour is the reason for many of the competitive features the other speakers display.

One notable feature of this discussion is the variety of linguistic forms which are co-operative in some contexts, but in this context are competitive - G4's repetition of B5's words to mock him, for example.


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