Why Greeks talk at the same time all together: examining the phenomenon of overlaps in everyday Greek conversations

Athanasia Chalari

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticlepeer-review


In recent work on Conversation Analysis there has been a growing interdisciplinary interest among conversation analysts and linguists with regard interpretation of social interaction and grammar/syntax. This paper investigates the phenomenon of overlaps in everyday Greek conversation within the context of the amalgamation of interaction and grammar/syntax. The core of the present investigation would be the study of how Greek grammar and syntax make possible the occurrence of overlaps in specific locations, in everyday Greek conversation. Greek grammar and syntax have specific functions (such as freer word order, much information included in the verb, subject omission) which allow interaction to occur in specific forms (displays early projectability and early occurrence of overlaps). Furthermore, the co-existence of the above grammatical and syntactical characteristics within a Greek turn, make possible the appearance of overlaps in specific locations. Consequently, syntactic practices of Modern Greek language shape the organisation of overlaps that occur in everyday Greek conversations. In Greek, grammar and interaction organise each other and more specifically syntactic practices of language shape the organization of overlaps. This study proposes that if over time the suggestions of this study are generalisable then it could be supported that social and national stereotypes (for example that Greeks are loud or impolite or that they talk all together) actually born in interaction. Namely, those kinds of patterns (the production of early overlaps because of the Greek grammar and syntax) lead to those kinds of perceptions (that Greeks are loud and interruptive, as many of us characterise ourselves).
Original languageEnglish
JournalThe 2nd LSE PhD Symposium on Modern Greece Current Social Science Research on Greece
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jun 2005


  • h social sciences (general)
  • pb modern european languages


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