Title

TWIN TALK

Date of Award

5-1-2012

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Speech Communication

First Advisor

Crow, Bryan

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to examine instances of naturally occurring conversations between twin siblings. This study uses both conversation analysis and semi-structured interviews to investigate communication patterns and practices in everyday twin-to-twin talk. The following research questions guided this study: (1) What pragmatic features of analytic interest are present in twin-to-twin talk? (2) What pragmatic features of analytic interest are present when twins interact with other members of the family system? There were a total of six sets of twin siblings between the ages of 10 and 15 who engaged in participant self-taping and semi-structured interviews. Although it did not have an observable effect on the findings, there were five sets of dizygotic (fraternal) twins and one set of monozygotic (identical) twins. Eight parents were interviewed and four parents participated in the conversations with the twin siblings. Findings suggest that certain communication practices and Phenomena are present in twin siblings' conversations, though not necessarily uniquely. Simultaneous speech is a conversational practice evident in every set of twin siblings' transcripts, serving as a completion to the other's utterance. In the presence of parents, it functions as a competitive move, other-initiated repair, and entertainment. As the twins conversed alone, extension/completion of the other twin's utterance served as a way to verify reported speech. It functions as support, verification, competition, and a way to gain attention when talking in front of a parent. The joint conversational performance act of code-switching was a practice used for entertainment by the twins when conversing alone. It served as a way to prove a point and to entertain as they interacted with a parent. Conversational phenomena included testing, and speaking for one's twin. Twins engaged in testing while conversing alone to show support for their twin. As they engaged in talk with a parent present, it served as competition/support, role confirmation/enactment, and identification/deidentification between the twin siblings. Speaking for one's twin could only occur while the twins were conversing in front of a parent. It functioned as a competitive move, as support, and as a way to gain attention.

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