Lexical alignment to non-native speakers

Iva Ivanova, Holly Branigan, Janet McLean, Albert Costa, Martin Pickering

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Two picture-matching-game experiments investigated if lexical-referential alignment to non native speakers is enhanced by a desire to aid communicative success (by saying something the conversation partner can certainly understand), a form of audience design. In Experiment1, a group of native speakers of British English that was not given evidence of their conversation partners’ picture-matching performance showed more alignment to non-native than to native speakers, while another group that was given such evidence aligned equivalently to the two types of speaker. Experiment 2, conducted with speakers of Castilian Spanish, replicated the greater alignment to non-native than native speakers without feedback. However, Experiment 2 also showed that production of grammatical errors by the confederate produced no additional increase of alignment even though making error ssuggests lower communicative competence. We suggest that this pattern is consistent with another collaborative strategy, the desire to model correct usage. Together, these results support a role for audience design in alignment to non-native speakers in structured task based dialogue, but one that is strategically deployed only when deemed necessary.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-173
Number of pages29
JournalDialogue and Discourse
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 19 Oct 2021

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • audience design
  • communicative success
  • lexical choice
  • picture-matching game


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