Document Type : Original Article


1 School of General Studies Kano University of Science and Technology, Wudil

2 Department of English, Faculty of Modern Languages and Communication, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Malaysia

3 School of Education, Taylor's University Malaysia



There has been a renewed interest in studying how turn exchanges occur among interlocutors. While overlap and interruption do occur during conversation, such occurrence is considered problematic and a breach of turn exchange protocol. This study seeks to explore how some Malaysian undergraduate students use overlap, interruption and pauses in focus group discussion. There were four distinct groups – two each from the Faculty of Engineering and the Faculty of Modern Languages and Communication in a public university in Malaysia. The result shows that the subjects of this study more often use overlap to support a proposition by a previous speaker, and rarely interrupt a current speaker. In addition, the talks of most participants of this study are marked with several pauses, which render their speech to be delayed. The result suggests that acquisition of conversation practices at childhood tends to contribute to the manner of talk at adulthood. The knowledge of these speech mannerisms might help in reducing confrontations during conversation.