Negotiation of the floor

In general, only one person can hold the floor in a conversation. When a debate is taking place, there are often periods where negotiation of the floor occurs. The current speaker will use rhetorical devices to try and maintain the floor while other participants in the debate will interrupt and overlap in an attempt to gain the floor.

In the following transcript, from the end of a debate on the Hijab in schools on Channel 4 News, two guests (AL & ZH) negotiate for the floor while the interviewer (IN). The general flow of the conversation is:

  • Negotiation 1: AL has the floor; ZH tries to interrupt (line 15). AL forcefully tries to maintain the floor but looses out to ZH (line 17-24)
  • Negotiation 2: ZH has floor; AL tries to interrupt (line 31-35)
  • Negotiation 3: Interviewer (IN) interrupts to close the debate

Negotiation 1

AL has the floor from line 01-14. ZH interrupts in line 15 and requests the floor. AL forcefully rejects this in lines 17 and 19-21. The interviewer (IN) interrupts (22-23) and  inadvertently hands the floor to ZH

13     so to say it’s about choice
14     is disin[genuous in the extreme
15 ZH:         [can I just say
16     those [there is one thing=
17 AL:       [NO I didn’t interrupt you
18 ZH: =can I just say [there is one
19 AL:                 [NO NO
20     Zubaida I didn’t interrupt you
21     have the respect that I gave you
22 IN: please please be quick though
23     because we’re nearly out of time
24 ZH: can I just say
25     there is one fundamental issue here

External link to clip (from 20 secs)

Negotiation 2

ZH has the floor (24-30). AL overlaps (31) and tries to gain the floor. ZH tries to maintain floor in line 36 ‘sorry cou- can I finish’.

29     do these practices exist
30     is there [compulsion in some xx
31 AL:          [yes these practices exist
32 ZH: [there is that question
33 AL: [Muslim
34 ZH: and [without a doubt
35 AL:     [women organisation
36 ZH: sorry cou- can I finish
37     [without a doubt
38 AL: [er well you didn’t let me finish
39 AL: women’s women’s organisation

External link to clip (from 39 secs)

Negotiation 3

The interviewer (IN) interrupts and announces ‘neither of you can finish’ (line 43) and closes the interview.

40 ZH: can I finish
41 AL: have have
42 IN: I’m really sorry
43     neither of you can finish
44 ZH: without a doubt without
45 IN: er because we we’re out of time
46     we’ll have to have this debate
47     er for a little longer (.) next time
48     but for now thank you both

External link to clip (from 50 secs)

Transcript

01 AL: ...
02     and actually (.) it’s not about choice
03     it is about (.) an encroaching it- er er (.)
04     interpretation of religion
05     which is telling women to cover up
06     otherwise you would not have
07     forty two percent of (.) Islamic schools
08     that have hijab as er part of their uniform
09     women would be allowed to go in mosques
10     without having their head covered
11     Muslim women would show their flesh
12     they are not allowed to do that
13     so to say it’s about choice
14     is disin[genuous in the extreme
15 ZH:         [can I just say
16     those [there is one thing=
17 AL:       [NO I didn’t interrupt you
18 ZH: =can I just say [there is one
19 AL:                 [NO NO
20     Zubaida I didn’t interrupt you
21     have the respect that I gave you
22 IN: please please be quick though
23     because we’re nearly out of time
24 ZH: can I just say
25     there is one fundamental issue here
26     that both you and Amanda
27     make the mistake of
28     which is (.) there is the question
29     do these practices exist
30     is there [compulsion in some xx
31 AL:          [yes these practices exist
32 ZH: [there is that question
33 AL: [Muslim
34 ZH: and [without a doubt
35 AL:     [women organisation
36 ZH: sorry cou- can I finish
37     [without a doubt
38 AL: [er well you didn’t let me finish
39 AL: women’s women’s organisation
40 ZH: can I finish
41 AL: have have
42 IN: I’m really sorry
43     neither of you can finish
44 ZH: without a doubt without
45 IN: er because we we’re out of time
46     we’ll have to have this debate
47     er for a little longer (.) next time
48     but for now thank you both
   ...
IN = Interviewer (Krishnan Guru-Murthy)
AL = Amina Lone; ZH = Zubaida Haque

External link to clip


Channel 4 News, 1st February 2018
https://www.channel4.com/news/hijab-ban-for-under-eights

Comments are closed.

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: