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Lapses: How people arrive at, and deal with, discontinuities in talk

Hoey, E. (2015). Lapses: How people arrive at, and deal with, discontinuities in talk. Research on Language and Social Interaction, 48(4), 430-453. doi:10.1080/08351813.2015.1090116.
Interaction includes moments of silence. When all participants forgo the option to speak, the silence can be called a “lapse.” This article builds on existing work on lapses and other kinds of silences (gaps, pauses, and so on) to examine how participants reach a point where lapsing is a possibility and how they orient to the lapse that subsequently develops. Drawing from a wide range of activities and settings, I will show that participants may treat lapses as (a) the relevant cessation of talk, (b) the allowable development of silence, or (c) the conspicuous absence of talk. Data are in American and British English.
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The Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics is an institute of the German Max Planck Society. Our mission is to undertake basic research into the psychological,social and biological foundations of language. The goal is to understand how our minds and brains process language, how language interacts with other aspects of mind, and how we can learn languages of quite different types.

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