Universiteit Leiden

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Lecture | LACG Meetings

Understanding dialogue: Language use and social interaction

Wednesday 11 December 2019
LACG Meetings
Cleveringaplaats 1
2311 BD Leiden


We present a theory of dialogue as a form of cooperative joint activity.  Dialogue is treated as a system involving two interlocutors and a shared workspace that contains their contributions and relevant non-linguistic context.  The interlocutors construct shared plans and use them to “post” contributions to the workspace, to comprehend joint contributions, and to distribute control of the dialogue between them.  A fundamental part of this process is to simulate their partner’s contributions and to use it to predict the upcoming state of the shared workspace.  As a consequence, they align their linguistic representations and their representations of the situation and of the “games” underlying successful communication.  The shared workspace is a highly limited resource, and the interlocutors use their aligned representations to say just enough and to speak in good time.  We end by applying the account beyond the “minimal dyad” to augmented dialogue, multi-party dialogue, and monologue.

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