ABSTRACT

Conversational interaction is increasingly being viewed as a singularly intriguing and rich interpersonal process. Consider the astonishing variety of behaviors that can occur within the confines of even a single conversation. Mouths open narrowly or widely; voices emerge to utter sounds, grow loud and soft, and high and low; lips curl and stretch; teeth grind; nostrils twitch; eyes blink; pupils dilate; eyebrows lift, foreheads crease, heads nod; shoulders shrug; arms wave; hands turn; fingers flex; legs cross; feet shuffle, bodies shift, and - through it all perhaps - eyes may watch; ears may listen; noses may sniff. The list is not exhaustive. But amidst such a bustle of activity, it is relatively easy to overlook one of the basic dimensions of conversational interaction, that is, the temporal organization of its sounds and silences. It is this temporal organization, indexed by the chronography of conversation, with which the present chapter is concerned.