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Alignment (Interactive)

  • By: Holly P. Branigan, Simon Garrod & Martin J. Pickering
  • In: Encyclopedia of Language Development
  • Edited by: Patricia J. Brooks & Vera Kempe
  • Subject:Language Development, Language & Communication

Alignment is a general term used to refer to the convergence of behaviors or representations associated with language between conversational partners. Research within a wide range of theoretical frameworks has found evidence that both first- and second-language learners align their language in many respects with that of their interlocutors in dialogue. These alignment effects have been explained with reference to social psychological, language learning, and psycholinguistic processing factors. More recent research has defined the notion of interactive alignment more narrowly as the development of aligned representations via an automatic psycholinguistic priming mechanism that acts on every level of linguistic representation. Alignment effects appear to be widespread in language learners' dialogues and may be used to help explain the process of learning itself, but it is ...

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