Designing Speech for a Recipient

How people design their speech for their addressees has previously been studied in different disciplines, but so far the different perspectives have never been brought together, even though they all focus on different, even complementary aspects of the phenomenon. For instance, psychologists have studied recipient design as a cognitive phenomenon, socio-linguists have studied it from the perspective of style and register, and pragmaticians, especially conversation analysts, have treated it as social phenomenon.

The book brings together these different perspectives and asks how the different processes involved, such as partner models, interactive alignment and interactional negotiation, interact with one another. The investigation is thus highly interdisciplinary and integrates a broad range of concepts. It proceeds by analyzing in great depth how people talk to young children, to foreigners and to robots. The result is a comprehensive model of how people take their various communication partners into account, indicating how cognitive representations such as partner models interact with the feedback from the communication partner and what role automatic processes such as interactive alignment may play.

You can buy the book here, and read more about the author Kerstin Fischer here.