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Managing common ground with listener responses in foreign-language business telephone calls Gisela Redeker University of Groningen 8 th IPrA Conference,

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Presentation on theme: "Managing common ground with listener responses in foreign-language business telephone calls Gisela Redeker University of Groningen 8 th IPrA Conference,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Managing common ground with listener responses in foreign-language business telephone calls Gisela Redeker University of Groningen 8 th IPrA Conference, Toronto, July 2003

2 Outline Managing Common Ground: Grounding Response Tokens Examples from business phone call Conclusions

3 Grounding Grounding: managing (and building) common ground in interaction Common ground: mutually shared beliefs - Heuristics: co-presence, community Signaling: nonverbal, intonational, lexical, grammatical

4 Response Tokens Definition (adapted from Gardner 2001): Response tokens are conversational objects that indicate that a piece of talk has been registered by the recipient of that talk, claiming that the talk has been heard, acknowledged, and perhaps understood, assessed, or agreed with, or treated as news or not news.

5 Functions of Response Tokens Assertions of understanding –continuer mm hm, uh huh –acknowledgementyeah, mm –newsoh –change-of-activity tokenokay Displays of understanding –agreement, confirmationyes, yeah, okay, mhm –disagreement, denialno

6 Fragment 1 off-record disagreement P: silence and minimal response M: silence, hesitations, hedging P is forcing M to take responsibility

7 Fragment 2 fine-tuning an arrangement P:minimal acknowledgements, hesitant/partial agreements, request specification, state constraint M:amend and elaborate proposal acknowledge constraint (news receipt)

8 Conclusions Response tokens achieve interactional alignment by asserting or displaying understanding. In negotiations, satisfactory grounding often requires sequences with several responses, esp. when common ground and means of grounding are restricted.


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