University of Bristol: Centre for linguistics

Activity: Visiting an external institutionResearch or teaching at external organisation


Interactive alignment through resonance in face-to-face conversation: What is it and why do we do it?

Carita Paradis
Lund University

In the process of compiling a new corpus of contemporary spoken British English, the London-Lund Corpus 2 (LLC–2) (Põldvere, Johansson & Paradis, 2021a), we hit upon a number of phenomena that are unique to dialogue, and among them, we were particularly intrigued by how speakers align with one another, and how they reuse ideas and constructions from prior speaker turns. This engagement with previous speaker contributions is a compelling type of meaning negotiation, dialogue management and stance coordination in everyday face-to-face conversation. Previous work on dialogue in the language sciences and psychology offers different approaches to and explanations for the above-mentioned reuse and recycling phenomenon in human communicative interaction. Du Bois (2014), on the one hand, refers to it, using the term resonance, and argues that it is socially motivated for various communicative purposes. Garrod and Pickering (2004), on the other hand, makes use of the term interactive alignment and see it as an automatic cognitive process that makes conversation smooth and easy.
Our research project on interactive alignment has two parts. The first part is a corpus study of face-to-face conversations from LLC–2, and the second part is an experiment where we make use of data from the corpus as stimuli. At this point in time, we only have results from the first part (Põldvere, Johansson & Paradis (2021b). For the second part, we are in the process of designing and recording stimuli. In this presentation, the focus is on the findings from the corpus study, namely on interactive alignment and dialogic resonance in sequences of stance-taking turns where the speakers are either in agreement or disagreement. I take a closer look at why and when speakers make use of each other’s contributions in the conversations, and what the social and cognitive underpinnings of this behaviour might be. But, before turning to the empirical study itself, I give a brief description of the data, namely the new LLC–2, highlighting the usefulness of this spoken corpus equipped with text-aligned audio files ( This feature of LLC–2 makes various types of investigation of natural language production possible and has important implications for research on everyday face-to-face conversation.

Du Bois, J. W. (2014). Towards a dialogic syntax. Cognitive Linguistics, 25(3), 359–410.
Pickering, M. J., & Garrod, S. (2004). Toward a mechanistic psychology of dialogue. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 27(2), 169–225.
Põldvere, N., Johansson,V., & Paradis, C. (2021a). On the London–Lund Corpus 2: Design, challenges and innovations. English Language and Linguistics, 25(3), 459-83.
Põldvere, N., Johansson,V., & Paradis, C. (2021b). Resonance in dialogue: The interplay between intersubjective motivations and cognitive facilitation. Language and Cognition, 13(4), 643-669.

Period2022 Oct 19
VisitingUniversity of Bristol: Centre for linguistics
Degree of RecognitionInternational