Skip to content
Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton November 24, 2015

Intelligent design

Tailoring one’s utterances to recipients, situations and genres

Wolfgang Imo


In everyday encounters, interactants have to keep track of a wide range of parameters which are relevant for a successful conversation: They have to 'address' the communicative genre that is (or is about to be) activated as well as the immediate and general situation the interactants are in. Furthermore, interactants have to tailor their utterances in such a way that they meet the supposed local needs of their partners-in-talk and make sure that their talk rests on the assumed shared knowledge of all interactants. On the basis of everyday spoken German conversations it will be shown that speakers have to design their utterances in such a way as to be adapted to their recipients' knowledge as well as to address situational and genre-related parameters. By analyzing utterance design it becomes possible to reveal the cognitive processes of the interactants.

Published Online: 2015-11-24
Published in Print: 2015-11-27

© 2015 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston