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Theoretical Linguistics

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Volume 42, Issue 3-4

Issues

Language as Mechanisms for Interaction

Ruth Kempson / Ronnie Cann
  • Department of Linguistics and English Language, University of Edinburgh, Old College, South Bridge, Edinburgh EH8 9YL, UK
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/ Eleni Gregoromichelaki
  • Philosophy Department, King’s College London, Strand, London, WC2R 2LS
  • Institute of Cognitive Science, University of Osnabrück, 49069 Osnabrück, Germany
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/ Stergios Chatzikyriakidis
  • Department of Philosophy, Linguistics, Theory of Science, University of Gothenburg, 405 30 Gothenburg, Sweden
  • Open University of Cyprus, B1 33, Latsia, Cyprus
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Published Online: 2016-10-06 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/tl-2016-0011

Abstract

Language use is full of subsentential shifts of context, a phenomenon dramatically illustrated in conversation where non-sentential utterances displaying seamless shifts between speaker/hearer roles appear regularly. The hurdle this poses for standard assumptions is that every local linguistic dependency can be distributed across speakers, with the content of what they are saying and the significance of each conversational move emerging incrementally. Accordingly, we argue that the modelling of a psychologically-realistic grammar necessitates recasting the notion of natural language in terms of our ability for interaction with others and the environment, abandoning the competence-performance dichotomy as standardly envisaged. We sketch Dynamic Syntax, a model in which underspecification and incremental time-relative update is central, showing how interactive effects of conversation follow directly. Finally, we note the changing cognitive-science horizons to be explored once a language-as-action view is adopted.

Keywords: Dynamic Syntax; incrementality; context; dialogue; non-sententials

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About the article

Published Online: 2016-10-06

Published in Print: 2016-10-01


Citation Information: Theoretical Linguistics, Volume 42, Issue 3-4, Pages 203–276, ISSN (Online) 1613-4060, ISSN (Print) 0301-4428, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/tl-2016-0011.

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