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date: 19 March 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Speaking begins with the formulation of messages (i.e., with a thought and a desire to communicate). Depending on the complexity of the event, the conversational context, interlocutors’ knowledge, success in establishing common ground, and a variety of other factors, messages can vary in content and breadth from speaker to speaker and from situation to situation. This article provides an overview of what is known from cognitive psychology about the process of planning the content of a message and the processes by which a message can be encoded linguistically. It begins by describing the relevant psycholinguistic research on message encoding, and then considers the content of messages including the question of the independence or interdependence of messages from language and the ways that contextual factors change the contents of messages.

Keywords: message encoding, message planning, language and thought, conversation

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