Lexical Entrainment in Self-Talk
Tatiana Pashkova
(Universität Bonn)
Saturday (April 22nd), 11:30-11:55
Lipsius 147

Our project investigated the underlying processes of lexical entrainment in the context of other- and self-directed speech. Self-directed speech was accessed by asking participants to privately take notes for memorization of figure order. Our research question was: Will people will employ the entrained expressions while talking to themselves; and in case they do, will the presence of their conversational partner prompt them to use the expressions more often? Our hypothesis was based the memory-cue account of lexical entrainment, and we expected that the partner would act as a strong memory cue, which would lead participants to use entrained expressions more frequently than in case when the partner was absent.

The expectations were not confirmed by the data obtained from 18 pairs of Russian native speakers. That could be due to the nature of note-taking activity, which is not automatic and spontaneous, so it is probably not influenced by low-level memory cues. That result might also be attributed to the fact that the figure-matching dialogue was really active in participants’ memory when they were writing so their partner’s physical absence did not play a role since their image was really fresh in participants’ mind. 

Moreover, we found that in their self-talk people were more likely to adopt the tangram names that they had pronounced themselves during the matching task than the names pronounced by their partner. However, despite this consistency of use, there were many completely new terms in the notes, which shows the difference between individual and collaboratively-achieved perspectives.