Social Saturdays’ posts look at the social side of language. After all, language isn’t just a way to communicate, it is communication.
Conversation works under a basic rule: One person speaks a time.
The two deviations from this rule (more than one and fewer than one person speaking at a time) occur very rarely.
On average, less than 5% of conversation occurs in overlap (more than one person at a time) and the gaps between the current and the next speaker average something like a tenth of a second.
This is true for two people in conversation, but also for twenty.
How do we manage to have such little gaps with so rare an overlap? Continue reading