Overlapping Speech in Caryl Churchill’s Hot Fudge

Constructing Interactional and Interpersonal Contexts


  • Andriy Ivanchenko Nanzan University




Andriy Ivanchenko (Chukyo University)

The script of Caryl Churchill’s short play Hot Fudge (similarly to several other plays by this author) contains detailed directions for overlapping conversation. At certain points in the play these may be contributing to a number of effects similar to those described for the naturally occurring “collaborative floor”, such as participants’ enthusiasm and mutual support. The importance of an “interactive” approach to constructed conversation is pointed out in the article, particularly that of analysing the overlapped speaker’s response to appreciate discursive significance of the overlapping turn. For instance, acknowledging and/or reusing the other’s overlapping formulations in a non-oppositional format can show the speaker’s understanding of those contributions as collaboratively oriented. Therefore, an “interactive” interpretation of overlapping dialogue in a dramatic text will affect the reader’s understanding of the interpersonal context (e.g. dominance-seeking / mutual support / collaboration between pairs of speakers). Particularly, an “interactive” approach is taken to show how certain kinds of overlapping similar to those described for the naturally occurring conversation can be used dramatically for supportive rather than conflictive ends. Overall, it is shown how the dramatic characters’ interpersonal orientations become inferable from their use of certain dialogic options.