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date: 26 June 2022

Abstract and Keywords

Conflicts are a ubiquitous part of social life. This chapter explores the role of language in shaping the way conflicts unfold and resolve. The first section examines the functions of language in conflict and how different communicative acts relate to speakers’ motivational goals and conflict outcome. The second section examines these acts as part of an unfolding interaction. At the microlevel, it examines different forms of cue-response sequences and their role in managing information exchange and structuring relationships in conflict. At the macro-level, it examines how episodes of language produce phases and cycles that escalate conflict or move it toward a resolution. The final section examines the link between thought and talk, showing that basic language choices have a profound effect on perceptions and cooperation, which in turn shape language. The chapter ends by posing unanswered research questions that address the social psychological theory of language in conflict and the practical issue of how to better use language in conflict resolution.

Keywords: Interpersonal processes, cooperation, motivations, goals, outcome, cue-response sequence, phases, negotiation

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