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Title: Interaction in dialogue : the effects of partner feedback on speakers, addressees and over-hearers
Author: Catchpole, Ciara M.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2007
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The primary aim of this thesis is to analyse how interaction with a conversational partner affects the performance of speakers, their addressees and those who overhear the discourse.  Speakers frequently appear to adjust their speech to accommodate their addressees’ needs, and this often seems to occur as a direct response to the feedback they received from their partners. The bulk of the research in this area has focussed upon the manner in which speakers use feedback to facilitate the overall success of the interaction but fewer studies have investigated how feedback specifically affects detailed characteristics of the speakers’ speech. This thesis attempts to investigate such a topic, whilst also examining the benefit to addressees of being able to give feedback, and the benefit to overhearers of hearing addressees’ feedback. The thesis begins by examining the effect of feedback on speakers’ and addressees’ performances. It first reports a referential communication task which investigated some of the notable differences in speakers’ speech in monologue and dialogue contexts (Experiment 1). I focussed in particular on how detailed aspects of language production, such as the length of object descriptions and the repetitiveness of the language used, varied between these two feedback conditions. Experiment 2 then analysed how the amount of feedback received by the speaker related to, firstly, the shortening of their item descriptions over repetitions, and secondly, the increasing consistency of descriptions (in terms of lexical overlap) during the experiment. The second section first reports on two experiments that replicated and expanded on a study by Fox Tree (1999) which showed that overhearers identified tangrams more accurately when they overhead a dialogue rather than a monologue. Experiments 3 and 4 tested two explanations proposed by Fox Tree for this result; firstly, the potential presence of additional perspectives in dialogue, and secondly, the more numerous discourse markers in dialogue in comparison with monologue. Experiments 5 and 6 assessed how the benefit of, firstly, giving feedback (for addressees) and secondly, hearing feedback (for overhearers) was affected by the difficulty of the task at hand.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available