The temporality of language in interaction

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This paper focuses on two basic principles in the dialogical emergence of self-contained linguistic units (‘sentences’) in interaction: projection and latency. Both are elementary for the synchronization of participants’ minds in what I call the online emergence of syntax. Projection enables speakers and recipients to predict – on the basis of what has been said so far – structural slots in the emer­gent syntactic gestalt. Latency, on the other hand, re­lates a new utterance to the structure of the preceding one(s). It links the struc­ture of an emergent syntactic gestalt to that of previous, already complete syn­tactic gestalts. Projection and latency can easily be observed in mundane con­versational phenomena that happen time and again in everyday interaction.


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