Temporal aspects of breathing and turn-taking in Swedish multiparty conversations

  • Johanna Hammarsten
  • Roxanne Harris
  • Nilla Henriksson
  • Mattias Heldner
  • Marcin Włodarczak
  • Isabelle Pano


Interlocutors use various signals to make conversations flow smoothly. Recent research has shown that respiration is one of the signals used to indicate the intention to start speaking. In this study, we investigate whether inhalation duration and speech onset delay within one’s own turn differ from when a new turn is initiated. Respiratory activity was recorded in two three-party conversations using Respiratory Inductance Plethysmography. Inhalations were categorised depending on whether they coincided with within-speaker silences or with betweenspeaker silences. Results showed that within-turn inhalation durations were shorter than inhalations preceding new turns. Similarly, speech onset delays were shorter within turns than before new turns. Both these results suggest that speakers ‘speed up’ preparation for speech inside turns, probably to indicate that they intend to continue.