Using intonation to predict the end of turn

In spoken discourse, we can usually predict when our conversational partner is about to finish a turn by listening to their intonation. This is not always successful, however, as demonstrated by the following clip in which a TV host assumes that the reporter has finished his lines when in fact he has more to say.

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Turn transition with the eyebrows

Turn change can often be signalled via body language. Here Hilary Benn gives the turn back to Andrew Marr through a raise of the eyebrows and a slight forward movement of the head (09). The rising intonation on Benn’s tone unit (08) suggests that he was not finished with his comments but he yielded the floor to the interviewer (Marr) who had indicated his desire to take the turn in 06 with a brief attempt to interrupt.

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