This observation adds up to the analysis of the cued retrospective reporting to affirm that the e-discussion developed without the establishment of any state of intersubjectivity in a sense of coordination of contributions. Grounding which is so important for coordinating contributions in joint activity is clearly not nurtured: the typical triplets of turns in which one posts a message, the other acknowledges his/her attendance, and the first continues, are largely inexistent.
In the absence of proper grounding and of state of intersubjectivity, we considered different traditions that explain the propensity people have in participating in dialogs. According to a cognitive psychology perspective, dialogs demand a lot from discussants. However, people manage to participate in dialogs. Garrod and Pickering (2004) have proposed the idea of interactive alignment to explain this propensity: This is a process by which people align their representations at different linguistic levels at the same time. They do this by making use of each others’ choices of words, sounds (in f2f communication), grammatical forms, and meanings. Interactive alignment ensures that interlocutors operate on common representations. So in speaking, each partner generates his utterance on the basis of what he has just heard from the other and can leave out redundant information without the risk of misunderstanding. Similarly in listening, aligned representations at the levels of the situation model, semantic interpretation, and syntactic formenable the listener to fill in the gaps at these levels. As interactive alignment predicts, speakers reuse the structures that they have just interpreted as listeners when formulating their response. Tomake utterances appropriate for the addressees, as a conversation proceeds, interactive alignment predicts that interlocutors build up a body of aligned representations, whichGarrod and Pickering call implicit common ground. The interactive nature of dialog supports interactive alignment of linguistic representations. In turn the alignment of representations has the effect of distributing the processing load between the interlocutors because each reuses information computed by the other.
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