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A psycholinguistic analysis of emergency (999) telephone calls to the fire brigade.

Comber, Miriam. (1990) A psycholinguistic analysis of emergency (999) telephone calls to the fire brigade. Doctoral thesis, University of Surrey (United Kingdom)..

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This study examines three aspects of conversational management in emergency (999) telephone calls made to the fire brigade: turn-taking, the use of speech acts and the transmission of information. Examination of the 16 longest calls in the corpus showed two problem types, situation specific and information transfer. The occurrence of situation specific problems was linked to longer calls. Turn-management behaviour was studied in 146 calls. Both operators and callers interrupted more when the caller was a woman. No difference was found in the distribution of speech across role or sex. Operators used significantly more assent words than callers. Speech act management was examined in 91 calls, using Conversational Exchange Analysis (Thomas, Bull and Roger, 1982). Operators and callers used different repertoires of speech acts. The operator also used acts which lead to predictable responses from the caller. The questions asked by the operator in 92 calls were categorised by the type of information requested and the sequence of questions was analysed to determine whether the operators used Requests to structure the call. The majority of probable transitions were between repeated instances of the same question. The sequence of questions could be predicted only at the beginning and end of the call. Information transfer was studied using three measures in 72 calls: method of information transfer, lapses between the parts of transfer sequences and errors in transfer. Different items of information were differed on all three measures. Finally, turn and speech act management were examined together, in 89 calls, using Facet Theory (Gratch, 1973) and multidimensional analysis. Two facets emerged, task and degree of interventionism. The conclusion of the study is that conversation management within these calls is strongly influenced by the interaction situation.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Divisions : Theses
Authors :
Comber, Miriam.
Date : 1990
Contributors :
Depositing User : EPrints Services
Date Deposited : 09 Nov 2017 12:16
Last Modified : 20 Jun 2018 11:01

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