Mark Dingemanse


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  • Dingemanse, M. (2020). Elementary particles of conversation [plenary talk]. Talk presented at the UK Cognitive Linguistics Conference 2020 (UKCLC 2020 Virtual). Birmingham, UK. 2020-07-27 - 2020-07-29.
  • Blokpoel, M., Dingemanse, M., Kachergis, G., Bögels, S., Drijvers, L., Eijk, L., Ernestus, M., De Haas, N., Holler, J., Levinson, S. C., Lui, R., Milivojevic, B., Neville, D., Ozyurek, A., Rasenberg, M., Schriefers, H., Trujillo, J. P., Winner, T., Toni, I., & Van Rooij, I. (2018). Ambiguity helps higher-order pragmatic reasoners communicate. Talk presented at the 14th biannual conference of the German Society for Cognitive Science, GK (KOGWIS 2018). Darmstadt, Germany. 2018-09-03 - 2018-09-06.
  • Dingemanse, M. (2014). A cross-linguistic study of other-initiated repair: System, cost, and choice [Invited talk]. Talk presented at the Workshop on Miscommunication, Queen Mary University. London, UK. 2014-05-14 - 2014-05-15.
  • Dingemanse, M., Torreira, F., & Enfield, N. J. (2014). Conversational infrastructure and the convergent evolution of linguistic items. Talk presented at EVOLANG 10 (10th International Conference on the Evolution of Language). Vienna. 2014-04-14 - 2014-04-17.
  • Dingemanse, M. (2014). Dependencies in language systems — Two case studies in methods and mechanisms. Talk presented at the Workshop on Dependencies among Systems of Language. Château de la Poste, Belgium. 2014-06-04 - 2014-06-07.
  • Dingemanse, M. (2014). Pragmatic typology and convergent evolution in language [Invited talk]. Talk presented at the Dahlem Lecture in Linguistics at Philosophy/Humanities Department, Freie Universität. Berlin. 2014-05-27.
  • Dingemanse, M. (2014). How to combine multiple modes of representation in language [Invited lecture]. Talk presented at at the Center for Cognitive Semiotics. Lund, Sweden. 2014-12-11.
  • Dingemanse, M. (2014). Morphosyntactic Typology of Ideophones: From Description to Explanation [Invited talk]. Talk presented at the Workshop on Structuring Sensory Imagery. Rochester, NY. 2014-05-01 - 2014-05-02.
  • Dingemanse, M. (2014). Media als middel — tips vanuit het oog van een mediastorm [Invited talk]. Talk presented at the Vakconferentie Wetenschapscommunicatie. Amsterdam. 2014-10-01.
  • Dingemanse, M., Enfield, N. J., Baranova, J., Blythe, J., Drew, P., Floyd, S., Gisladottir, R. S., Kendrick, K. H., Levinson, S. C., Manrique, E., & Rossi, G. (2014). Other-initiated repair across languages: A systematic comparison. Talk presented at the 4th International Conference on Conversation Analysis [ICCA 2014]. University of California at Los Angeles, CA. 2014-06-25 - 2014-06-29.
  • Dingemanse, M. (2014). On the centrality of ‘marginalia’ for theory and methods in linguistics [Invited talk]. Talk presented at the Linguistics Department Stockholm University March 27. Stockholm, Sweden. 2014-03-27.
  • Dingemanse, M. (2014). On the margins of language. Talk presented at the TWIST Leiden Conference on Linguistics. Leiden, NL. 2014-05-20.
  • Dingemanse, M. (2014). Sound-symbolism, iconicity, and ideophones [Invited talk]. Talk presented at the Linguistics Department Tilburg University. Tilburg, NL. 2014-04-02.
  • Dingemanse, M. (2014). Stemmen van Afrika [Public lecture]. Talk presented at at the Studium Generale Leiden. Leiden. 2014-06-10.
  • Dingemanse, M. (2014). Studying Conversation across Cultures. Talk presented at the Annual Meeting of the Linguistic Society of America. Minneapolis, USA. 2014-01-02 - 2014-02-05.
  • Dingemanse, M. (2014). The Future of Linguistics [Invited talk]. Talk presented at the informal roundtable "Linguistics Quo Vadis". Nijmegen, NL. 2014-03-10.
  • Dingemanse, M., Verhoef, T., & Roberts, S. G. (2014). The role of iconicity in the cultural evolution of communicative signals. Talk presented at the Workshop on Evolution of Signals, Speech and Signs. Vienna. 2014-04-14 - 2014-04-17.
  • Dingemanse, M. (2014). Waarom zijn er in Afrika zoveel verschillende talen? [Public lecture]. Talk presented at at the MuseumJeugdUniversiteit, Afrikamuseum. Berg en Dal. 2014-09-14.
  • Dingemanse, M. (2014). Waarom zijn er zoveel talen in Afrika?. Talk presented at the Afrikadag, Nijmeegse Scholengemeenschap (NSG). Nijmegen, the Netherlands. 2014-12-18.
  • Dingemanse, M. (2014). Unity and diversity in systems of language use [Invited talk]. Talk presented at at the Workshop on Language Evolution and Diversity. Nijmegen. 2014-10-30 - 2014-10-31.
  • Dingemanse, M. (2014). Understanding Agency through Misunderstandings [Invited talk]. Talk presented at the retreat 'Foundations of Social Agency', Schloss Ringberg Tegernsee. Tegernsee, Germany.
  • Floyd, S., Rossi, G., Enfield, N. J., Baranova, J., Blythe, J., Dingemanse, M., Kendrick, K. H., & Zinken, J. (2014). Everyday requesting across eight languages [Invited talk]. Talk presented at the Center for Language, Interaction, and Culture (CLIC) workshop 'About Face'. University of California at Los Angeles, CA. 2014-02-07 - 2014-02-08.
  • Floyd, S., Rossi, G., Enfield, N. J., Baranova, J., Blythe, J., Dingemanse, M., Kendrick, K. H., & Zinken, J. (2014). Recruitments across languages: A systematic comparison. Talk presented at the 4th International Conference on Conversation Analysis [ICCA 2014]. University of California at Los Angeles, CA. 2014-06-25 - 2014-06-29.


    We present the questions, methods, and findings of a major comparative project on ‘recruitments’. These are sequences in which one party’s behavior is solicited or otherwise occasioned by that of another party, ranging from directives to indirect requests to subtle hints. Though there has been considerable research in this area, we present a new systematic and comparative approach, working with a broad sample of languages and cultures based on closely comparable video recorded corpora, representing Asia, Africa, Europe, Australia and the Americas. We present results from this comparison looking for cross-linguistic differences and similarities in the formal resources of each language (their “grammars of recruiting”) and in how these resources are used in sequential context. The questions motivating this detailed comparison concern the ways in which people use semiotic resources in managing relationships in social life, particularly in the distribution of agency in which people act in the service of others’ goals, including shared goals (see Enfield 2013). The recruitment sequences we are interested in here allow us to study the fission-fusion agency whereby people navigate the interactional contingencies of distributed social and practical agency. This is a wider domain of sociality than what is usually covered by the term ‘request’, so we apply the term ‘recruitment’ to a broader class of actions. The recruitment sequences that we compare cross-linguistically minimally consist of (1) two people, A and B, (2) a first move in which A says and/or does something that B can hear or see, and (3) a second move in which B responds by doing something practical (other than saying something) that is fitted to what A just said and/or did. Other terms such as ‘rejection’ and ‘fulfillment’ characterize the different things that can be done by B after A’s recruitment move. Project members have each collected 200 such recruitment cases among adult speakers in naturally-occurring conversational video corpora and then further characterized them into sub-types of sequences, many of which are ‘requests’ in the usual sense of that term. Previous studies of recruitments in interaction have added to our understanding by identifying relationships between the selection of formal resources for requesting and the contingencies of interaction (Craven & Potter, 2010; Curl and Drew, 2008; Heinemann, 2006; Schegloff, 1979; Taleghani-Nikazm, 2006; Vinkhuyzen & Szymanski, 2005; Wootton 1997; Zinken & Ogiermann, 2011). In the large-scale cross-linguistic comparative framework of this project we can ask further questions about cultural variation in relations between formal resources and social action by keeping the sequence type constant across 8 language corpora and studying how speakers of different languages accomplish similar recruiting actions in interaction. Our quantitative results show how certain sets of resources recur cross-linguistically as practices for achieving similar actions. For example, in all of the languages speakers choose among imperative, declarative and interrogative sentence types, between spoken, visual, or multimodal formats, and between ‘bare’ requests and mitigated requests including accounts or minimizers like diminutive marking: we discuss how speakers select from among all these options according to interactional contingencies. Speakers in different linguistic and cultural contexts handle similar interactional contingencies with largely similar means, but they also show some areas of cultural variation. The research team contributing to this project has developed a detailed coding scheme which has been administered with reference to comparable corpora of video-recorded everyday conversation in 8 languages from around the world: Siwu (Ghana), Lao (Laos), Cha’palaa (Ecuador), Murriny-Patha (Australia), Dutch, Russian, English, Mandarin Chinese, and Italian. In this session we will present a concise and comprehensive overview of the questions, methods, and results of this comparative project.
  • Kendrick, K. H., Brown, P., Dingemanse, M., Floyd, S., Gipper, S., Hayano, K., Hoey, E., Hoymann, G., Manrique, E., Rossi, G., & Levinson, S. C. (2014). Sequence organization: A universal infrastructure for action. Talk presented at the 4th International Conference on Conversation Analysis. University of California at Los Angeles, CA. 2014-06-25 - 2014-06-29.


    The insight that language and other social behavior should be analyzed sequentially – unit-by-unit, turn-by-turn, action-by-action – is arguably the central methodological innovation of conversation analysis. The force of this insight motivated early investigations into the sequential organization of phenomena such as laughter (Jefferson et al. 1977), jokes (Sacks 1974a, 1978), and story-telling (Sacks 1974b; Jefferson 1978). Although sequentiality is a general concern in all conversation-analytic research, it has been the primary object of study in a line of work on one specific form of sequence organization, the adjacency pair (Schegloff 1968, 1972, 1980, 1988, 2007; Schegloff and Sacks 1973). An adjacency pair is a sequential structure of two actions, produced by two participants, where the second action is contingent upon and normatively obliged by the production of the first (e.g., greeting-greeting, question-answer, request-acceptance/rejection). Though not all courses of action are organized through adjacency pairs, adjacency pairs are used to manage many basic social and communicative contingencies, including the transfer of goods, services, and information (offers, requests, statements, questions), and the initiation and termination of social encounters (openings, closings), among others (Schegloff and Sacks 1973). The rich tradition of research on the adjacency pair and its organization has been based almost exclusively on audio and video recordings of social interaction made in the U.S. and U.K. Psychologists warn us that research on WEIRD people, that is, people form Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic societies, may not generalize beyond this niche of outliers to the species as a whole (Henrich et al. 2010). While previous comparative research gives us reason to suspect that, unlike some psychological experiments, the core findings of conversation analysis successfully generalize beyond Anglo-American culture (see, e.g., Sidnell 2007, 2009; Stivers et al. 2009; Dingemanse and Floyd, in press), the linguistic and cultural universality of sequence organization remains an open question. In this talk, we report on a collaborative investigation of sequence organization in 12 languages from distinct linguistic stocks and different geographical areas. We begin with a basic empirical question: Is sequence organization, as described by Schegloff (2007), universal? To answer this, we draw on video recordings of everyday social interaction made in fieldsites across the globe, with speakers of the following languages: ǂAkhoe Haiǀǀom (Khoisan; Namibia), Cha’palaa (Barbacoan; Ecuador), English (Germanic; U.S. and U.K.), Italian (Romance; Italy), Japanese (Japonic; Japan), LSA (sign language; Argentina), Mandarin Chinese (Sinitic; Taiwan), Siwu (Kwa; Ghana), Turkmen (Turkic; Turkmenistan), Tzeltal (Mayan; Mexico), Yélî Dnye (isolate; Papua New Guinea), and Yurakaré (isolate; Bolivia). With the model of sequence organization in English as our point of departure (Schegloff 2007), we examine the structures that the speakers of these languages use to construct courses of action – unit-by-unit, turn-by-turn, action-by-action. While the primary object of study is the adjacency pair and its systematic expansion (Schegloff 2007; Levinson 2013), we also explore culture-specific forms of action-sequencing, such as the proliferation of repetitional post-expansions in Tzeltal, which can span six turns or more, and “broadcasting” in ǂAkhoe Haiǀǀom, in which speakers produce multi-unit tellings that neither occasion displays of recipiency nor solicit responses from those around them. The results of our preliminary investigation reveal that all languages in the sample make use of the basic machinery of the adjacency pair and its expansion. In each language, we observe not only base adjacency pair sequences, but also pre-expansions, insert expansions, and post-expansions, as well as subtypes of these (see Schegloff 2007). The occurrence of these structures across a diverse sample of unrelated languages and cultures leads us to conclude that the structures do not belong to “language” or “culture” per se, but rather to a universal infrastructure for social interaction, an interaction engine (Levinson 2006) that all humans and human societies have in common and for which precursors may even be found among our nearest cousins, the apes (Rossano 2013). In agreement with Schegloff (2006), we propose that these structures emerge as solutions to recurrent socio-interactional problems, which are themselves basic to human sociality.
  • Dingemanse, M. (2009). Ezra Pound among the Mawu: The everyday poetics of ideophones in a West-African society. Talk presented at 7th International Symposium on Iconicity in Language and Literature. Toronto, Canada. 2009-06-14.
  • Dingemanse, M. (2009). Ideophones in Siwu: New methods and findings. Talk presented at Research Colloquium of the Institut für Afrikanistik. Köln, Germany. 2009-07-15.
  • Dingemanse, M. (2009). How to do things with ideophones: Observations on the use of vivid sensory language in Siwu. Talk presented at SOAS Research Seminar. London. 2009-06-03.
  • Dingemanse, M. (2009). The interaction of syntax and expressivity in Siwu ideophones. Talk presented at 2009 International Conference on Role and Reference Grammar. Berkeley, CA. 2009-08-09.
  • Dingemanse, M. (2009). The semi-Bantu noun class system of Siwu (na-GTM, Ghana). Talk presented at 39th Colloquium on African Languages and Linguistics. Leiden, the Netherlands. 2009-08-24.
  • Dingemanse, M. (2009). What do we really know about ideophones?. Talk presented at 6th World Congress of African Linguistics. Cologne, Germany. 2009-08-20.

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