Timing of yes/no sequences

Assessing the timing of turn-taking requires careful operationalisation. The largest comparative study so far (Stivers et al., 2009) looked at polar questions and their answers in order to have a directly comparable sequential context.

In our paper on conversational corpora, we use this same sequential context, and compare it to the larger set of dyadic speaker transitions in interaction. Given the broad-scale comparability of the overall timing distributions (in grey) and the more controlled subset of at least 250 question-answer sequences per language (in black), we conclude that QA sequences can act as a useful proxy for timing in general (supporting Stivers et al. 2009), but also that QA-sequences are not necessary for a relatively robust impression of overall timing.

Dingemanse, M., & Liesenfeld, A. (2022). From text to talk: Harnessing conversational corpora for humane and diversity-aware language technology. Proceedings of the 60th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers), 5614–5633. doi: 10.18653/v1/2022.acl-long.385 PDF