When is it appropriate to talk? Managing overlapping talk in multi-participant voice-based chat rooms

Christopher Joseph Jenks

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


There has been extensive reporting on the interactional characteristics of multi-participant text-based chat rooms. In these chat rooms there are several students typing at the same time, often on more than one topic. As a result, it is not uncommon to see multiple overlapping utterances. Despite these communicative challenges, research suggests that multi-participant text-based chat rooms are beneficial for language teaching and learning. It is my objective to investigate whether the same can be said for multi-participant voice-based chat rooms. As there is little empirical work on the interaction that results from communicating in voice-based chat rooms, a necessary first step in discussing pedagogical benefits is to investigate its interactional structure. This study will therefore focus on how overlapping talk is dealt with in a medium in which multiple voices are heard in the absence of nonverbal cues. The findings show how pauses act in connection to overlapping talk, both as a source and an interactional resource. These findings will then be used to discuss the pedagogical implications of communicating in multi-participant voice-based chat rooms.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-30
Number of pages12
JournalComputer Assisted Language Learning
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Computer-mediated communication
  • Conversation analysis
  • Overlapping talk
  • Turn-taking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Computer Science Applications


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