The Conversation Frame: Linguistic Forms and Communicative Functions in Discourse


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Title The Conversation Frame: Linguistic Forms and Communicative Functions in Discourse
Period 01 / 2010 - 12 / 2014
Status Current
Research number OND1338010
Data Supplier NWO


Starting from the assumption that language is intimately related to interaction, the main question this project addresses is: how is the structure of interaction reflected in language structure and language use? That is, what forms does the basic interactional pattern of turn-taking take in grammar and discourse? In addition, I will investigate the communicative functions of interactional structures embedded in discourse. Finally, I will explore the processing and communicative effectiveness of such grammatically integrated interactional patterns. This project focuses on fictive interaction (Pascual 2002), a cognitive phenomenon that reflects the interactional structure of conversation, and is manifested in language structure and use (egs. ?"an attitude that says 'what's in it for me?", ?"a 'what's in it for me?' attitude"). The project addresses the following questions: (i) since factual interaction is a fundamental aspect of language use, is fictive interaction also a fundamental linguistic structure in different discourse genres? And (ii) does the use of fictive interaction provide processing and communicative advantages to language users? In order to address the linguistic structure question, a corpus study will be undertaken, examining fictive interaction in different discourse genres of written and spoken Dutch. To address the communicative effectiveness question, the communicative effects of fictive interaction in Dutch will be explored in relation to: (i) the argumentative power of fictive interaction (in criminal trials); (iii) the use of fictive interaction as conversational strategy (by speech-impaired individuals with Broca's aphasia); and (iii) the reception of fictive interaction (processing, memory, comprehension and emotional affect). I hypothesise that embedded fictive interaction is essential in different discourse genres, and can be used for a variety of communicative functions. I also hypothesise that the use of fictive interaction can render a discourse communicatively more effective, as compared to its descriptive alternative, partly because it is processed more efficiently.

Abstract (NL)

Uitdrukkingen als 'een gevoel van waarom ik?' en 'Niet tevreden? Geld terug!-garantie' roepen een denkbeeldig gesprek op. Dit project onderzoekt vormen en functies van ingebedde 'gesprekken', hun communicatieve effectiviteit in uiteenlopende contexten, en de manier waarop ze cognitief worden verwerkt.

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Project leader Dr. E. Pascual

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