April 7, 2017
Jackson Tolins (UC Santa Cruz) (website)
Collaborative Effects in Dialogue Comprehension: Addressee Responses and Grounding affect Overhearing
The collaborative language use paradigm has shown us that the production of talk and meaning is a joint effort, involving processes that incorporate multiple active participants. This makes engaging in conversation distinct from both listening to a monologue, involving just one speaker, and listening to a dialogue without the ability to participate. We call this latter form of listening overhearing. Typically, overhearers are treated as lower status listeners, with less understanding available than addressees whose active participation always them to take part in the grounding of meaning in a conversation. In my line of research, I’ve sought to change this perspective, and instead focus on overhearers as doing something unique. In this talk I will review a series of studies that explore dialogue comprehension from different perspectives, including online comprehension, memory of conversations, and even word learning in children, to show that overhearers aren’t just secondary listeners, but rather understand the dialogue holistically, integrating information across the overheard speakers.