Building Coherence And Cohesion: Task-Oriented Dialogue In English And Spanish (Pragmatics and Beyond. New Series)

by Maria Teresa Taboada

Building Coherence And Cohesion: Task-Oriented Dialogue In English And Spanish (Pragmatics and Beyond. New Series)


The goal of this book is to examine some of the resources that speakers employ when building conversations. These resources contribute to overall coherence and cohesion, constructed interactively as speakers build on each other's contributions. The book furthers the study of coherence at all levels, from surface structure to internal organization. Typical dialogues are considered to be coherent by those participating, and often by those observing as well. However, it is difficult to pinpoint exactly what makes a dialogue or a conversation coherent, and how that coherence is achieved dynamically. Similarly, cohesion, as an internal property of togetherness in a text, is usually considered to be present in conversation. Coherence and cohesion together give us texts and conversations that we recognize as such. In this book, I present a study of coherence and cohesion. The study is cross linguistic, based on a corpus of task-oriented conversations between dyads of two speakers each. The corpus contains conversations between two native speakers of English on the one hand, and two native speakers of Spanish on the other. The interlocutors have conflicting agendas that cover a two to four week period; their task is to agree on an appointment within that time. The conversations are viewed as collaborative efforts, yielding texts built interactively by the speakers. My analysis is concerned with the discourse characteristics that make the dialogues hold together as texts.

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