Visual environment and interlocutors in situated dialogue
Face-to-face conversation is often considered the most basic form of language use, as it was likely a dominant mode of communication as languages evolved, it is often the primary form of language input during children’s language acquisition, and it is a dominant mode of adult communication today. Conversational language differs in important ways from the language traditionally studied in psycholinguistics; thus, characterizing language processing in conversation is essential if models of language understanding are to extend to this most basic form of language use. This chapter will examine key features of language comprehension in conversation, and will highlight the role of the visual environment in establishing joint domains of reference. Unlike in non-interactive settings, in conversation language is jointly created by conversational partners who hold different, but partially overlapping representations of the relevant context. Understanding if and how partners appreciate their partner’s perspective has emerged as a central question in this domain.