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Conference Paper

Cues to turn boundary prediction in adults and preschoolers

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Casillas, M., & Frank, M. C. (2012). Cues to turn boundary prediction in adults and preschoolers. In S. Brown-Schmidt, J. Ginzburg, & S. Larsson (Eds.), Proceedings of SemDial 2012 (SeineDial): The 16th Workshop on the Semantics and Pragmatics of Dialogue (pp. 61-69). Paris: Université Paris-Diderot.

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Conversational turns often proceed with very brief pauses between speakers. In order to maintain “no gap, no overlap” turntaking, we must be able to anticipate when an ongoing utterance will end, tracking the current speaker for upcoming points of potential floor exchange. The precise set of cues that listeners use for turn-end boundary anticipation is not yet established. We used an eyetracking paradigm to measure adults’ and children’s online turn processing as they watched videos of conversations in their native language (English) and a range of other languages they did not speak. Both adults and children anticipated speaker transitions effectively. In addition, we observed evidence of turn-boundary anticipation for questions even in languages that were unknown to participants, suggesting that listeners’ success in turn-end anticipation does not rely solely on lexical information.