Tools of Engagement

selecting a next speaker in Australian Aboriginal multiparty conversations

Joe Blythe, Rod Gardner, Ilana Mushin, Lesley Stirling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)


Building on earlier Conversation Analytic work on turn-taking and response mobilization, we use video-recorded multiparty conversations to consider in detail how Australian Aboriginal participants in conversation select a next speaker in turns that are grammatically designed as questions. We focus in particular on the role of a range of embodied behaviors, such as gaze direction, body orientation, and pointing, to select—or avoid selecting—a next speaker. We use data from four remote Aboriginal communities to also explore the claims from ethnographic research that Aboriginal conversations typically occur in nonfocused participation frames. Data are in Murrinhpatha, Garrwa, Gija, and Jaru with English translations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-170
Number of pages26
JournalResearch on Language and Social Interaction
Issue number2
Early online date15 May 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018



  • multimodality
  • turn-taking
  • gaze
  • ethnographic fieldwork
  • Australian Aboriginal conversation
  • F-formation

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