The Dynamics of Dialogue in a Restricted Reference Domain

Clark, Aileen (1989) The Dynamics of Dialogue in a Restricted Reference Domain. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This thesis is concerned with the development of interactive communication skills in young school children, that is, skills which depend upon the linguistic interplay between dialogue participants. Semantic negotiation is investigated in the restricted context of a task-oriented game to examine how communicators co-ordinate their use and interpretation of language. The conversations considered were generated from pairs of same-aged 8-, 10-, and 12-year-old children playing a specially designed computer maze-game which elicits spontaneous dialogue, yet within a very restricted domain. The dialogues typically contain a number of location descriptions within a pre-defined spatial network, and such description sequences enable an exploration of the emergence of coordinated description schemes. As well as this, various aspects of problem solving abilty were investigated since the task involved a joint co-ordination problem. Results indicated that all age groups were able to engage in semantic negotiation and develop co-ordinated description schemes to describe locations on the maze, however there were certain developmental differences in their choice of schemes and their ability to increase co-ordination over the games. Furthermore, it appeared that the younger children were co-ordinating on the expressions to use, without fully understanding each other. Yet these results indicate that interactional processes are essential to the establishment of meaning, and that young children are able to infer meaning from the interaction in specific contexts of use. These findings tend to suggest that social-pragmatic factors play a critical role in the development of meaning, and indicate that the general process of co-ordination (in respect to language), may be a basic component of all human interactional dialogue.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Linguistics, Modern language
Date of Award: 1989
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:1989-78059
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 28 Feb 2020 12:09
Last Modified: 28 Feb 2020 12:09

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