Dialogue in joint activity: complementarity, convergence and conventionalization

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Abstract

Dialogue is tightly interwoven within everyday joint activities that require moment-by-moment coordination of utterances and actions. A common account of coordination is that it is established via progressive convergence (alignment, entrainment, similarity) of interlocutors' representations and behaviour. In order to examine how coordination is established and sustained, this paper distinguishes between (1) Semantic coordination of referring expressions (2) Procedural coordination of the timing and sequencing of contributions. Drawing on data from a series of maze experiments, this paper shows how both kinds of coordination result in the rapid development of highly elliptical, systematized and normative conventions. Focussing on how these conventions are established, this paper shows how interlocutors exploit partial repetition as an interactive resource, resulting in interlocutors' turns becoming progressively divergent and complementary. Further, this paper develops the claim that since repetition is best conceived as a special case of complementarity, it cannot be the general explanation of coordination.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)158-173
Number of pages16
JournalNew Ideas in Psychology
Volume32
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr-2014
Externally publishedYes

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