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date: 17 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

During dialogue, interlocutors align their situation models—cognitive representations of what they are currently discussing—and they do so by interacting. This chapter argues that alignment of situation models arises from interlocutors automatically aligning at other linguistic levels. It shows how this automatic alignment comes about from repeating each other’s choices of words, grammar, and meaning, and how alignment at one linguistic level percolates to alignment at other levels. After briefly reviewing the evidence for such alignment, the chapter considers how it relates to communicative success both cognitively and emotionally. Finally, it examines alternative social accounts of linguistic convergence processes (i.e. linguistic alignment) in relation to incidentally or strategically increasing social affiliation.

Keywords: alignment, linguistic convergence, syntactic priming, semantic priming, communicative success

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