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|Title: ||Universal principles in the repair of communication problems|
|Authors: ||Dingemanse, Mark|
Roberts, Sean G.
Gisladottir, Rosa S.
Kendrick, Kobin H.
Levinson, Stephen C.
|Issue Date: ||2015|
|Publisher: ||© The Authors. Published by Public Library of Science|
|Citation: ||DINGEMANSE, M. ...et al., 2015. Universal principles in the repair of communication problems. PLOS ONE, 10(9), e0136100.|
|Abstract: ||There would be little adaptive value in a complex communication system like human language if there were no ways to detect and correct problems. A systematic comparison of
conversation in a broad sample of the world’s languages reveals a universal system for the
real-time resolution of frequent breakdowns in communication. In a sample of 12 languages
of 8 language families of varied typological profiles we find a system of ‘other-initiated
repair’, where the recipient of an unclear message can signal trouble and the sender can
repair the original message. We find that this system is frequently used (on average about
once per 1.4 minutes in any language), and that it has detailed common properties, contrary
to assumptions of radical cultural variation. Unrelated languages share the same three functionally
distinct types of repair initiator for signalling problems and use them in the same
kinds of contexts. People prefer to choose the type that is the most specific possible, a principle
that minimizes cost both for the sender being asked to fix the problem and for the dyad
as a social unit. Disruption to the conversation is kept to a minimum, with the two-utterance
repair sequence being on average no longer that the single utterance which is being fixed.
The findings, controlled for historical relationships, situation types and other dependencies,
reveal the fundamentally cooperative nature of human communication and offer support for
the pragmatic universals hypothesis: while languages may vary in the organization of grammar
and meaning, key systems of language use may be largely similar across cultural groups. They also provide a fresh perspective on controversies about the core properties of
language, by revealing a common infrastructure for social interaction which may be the universal bedrock upon which linguistic diversity rests.|
|Description: ||This is an Open Access Article. It is published by Public Library of Science under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported Licence (CC BY). Full details of this licence are available at: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/|
|Publisher Link: ||http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0136100|
|Appears in Collections:||Published Articles (Social Sciences)|
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