Repairing conversational misunderstandings and non-understandings

Graeme Hirst, Susan McRoy, Peter Heeman, Philip Edmonds, Diane Horton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

45 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Participants in a discourse sometimes fail to understand one another, but, when aware of the problem, collaborate upon or negotiate the meaning of a problematic utterance. To address non-understanding, we have developed two plan-based models of collaboration in identifying the correct referent of a description: one covers situations where both conversants know of the referent, and the other covers situations, such as direction-giving, where the recipient does not. In the models, conversants use the mechanisms of refashioning, suggestion and elaboration, to collaboratively refine a referring expression until it is successful. To address misunderstanding, we have developed a model that combines intentional and social accounts of discourse to support the negotiation of meaning. The approach extends intentional accounts by using expectations deriving from social conventions in order to guide interpretation. Reflecting the inherent symmetry of the negotiation of meaning, all our models can act as both speaker and hearer, and can play both the role of the conversant who is not understood or misunderstood and the role of the conversant who fails to understand.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)213-229
Number of pages17
JournalSpeech Communication
Volume15
Issue number3-4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1994
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Negotiating
Cover
discourse
Model
recipient
Symmetry
interpretation
Misunderstanding
Meaning
Direction compound
Discourse
Negotiation of Meaning
Referent

Keywords

  • Abduction
  • Collaboration
  • Conversation
  • Misunderstanding
  • Negotiation
  • Non-understanding
  • Reference

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Signal Processing
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language

Cite this

Repairing conversational misunderstandings and non-understandings. / Hirst, Graeme; McRoy, Susan; Heeman, Peter; Edmonds, Philip; Horton, Diane.

In: Speech Communication, Vol. 15, No. 3-4, 1994, p. 213-229.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Hirst, Graeme ; McRoy, Susan ; Heeman, Peter ; Edmonds, Philip ; Horton, Diane. / Repairing conversational misunderstandings and non-understandings. In: Speech Communication. 1994 ; Vol. 15, No. 3-4. pp. 213-229.
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