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What Do We Talk About?

Just what do humans talk about? Well, we communicate in speech and writing by packaging information into clauses. A clause typically consists of a process and a participant. Sometimes circumstances may be added to provide additional details about the process. The processes themselves represent the goings-on that we talk about. There are three types of process: states, events and actions. This, in essence, is what humans talk about.

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Situational Variables

Situational variables are factors that may influence communicative behavior. The physical and social surroundings, timing, reasons for communicating and individual physiological and mood states can affect language choice in any particular situation.

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Interruption

Utterances in conversation are prone to being overlapped. Overlaps are interpreted either as inadvertent overlap or as violative interruption (deliberate interruptions) dependent on whether or not they appear at a transition relevance place (TRP), i.e. a place where the turn at talk may legitimately transfer to another speaker.

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Entropy and Redundancy in Human Communication

Transmission models of communication stress the need to achieve an appropriate balance between messages with highly unpredictable information (entropy) and highly predictable information (redundancy). In this way, communication between speakers and hearers is improved.

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