Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( (c) Oxford University Press, 2015. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy).

date: 17 October 2017

Abstract and Keywords

This article argues that psycholinguists need to think in a different way to understand processing in dialogue. According to this view, interlocutors do not use language to encode and decode messages, but rather as a means by which they can align their mental states, so that they come to have the same ideas about the topic under discussion. It would in principle be possible to decompose this task into discrete acts of comprehension and production, but in practice real dialogue involves constant overlaying of production and comprehension. It is much better to understand dialogue as a joint activity, like ballroom dancing or using a two-handed saw, and to assume that alignment follows from this inherently interactive process. On the assumption that the goal of dialogue is alignment, this article discusses ways in which interlocutors come to achieve this state. First, it considers alignment via beliefs about one's interlocutor, and then discusses alignment via imitation. The article also looks at alignment via agreements between interlocutors, alignment via feedback, and alignment via physical co-presence.

Keywords: dialogue, alignment, interlocutors, imitation, agreements, feedback, physical co-presence

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.