To follow or to flout? Communicative competence and the rules of turn taking

Jennie Yguico Kern、 Kochi University and Kochi Women’s University


Due to differing cultural contexts, adequate understanding and successful negotiation of turn-taking behavior in the L2 can be notoriously difficult for language learners to master. For Japanese learners of English, turn taking can be particularly challenging with regard to more aggressive modes of communication such as debate and argumentative discourse, in which the ability to gain and hold the floor is essential to effective communication. This study examines the turn-taking devices used by a group of Japanese university students to successfully gain and maintain the floor while performing a discussion task. Incorporation of interruption techniques in the language classroom is discussed as well as the need for students to have not only an awareness of turn-taking rules but also a willingness to break them.