Summary and Info
The main theme running through this volume is that coherence is a mental phenomenon rather than a property of the spoken or written text, or of the social situation. Coherence emerges during speech production-and-comprehension, allowing the speech receiver to form roughly the same episodic representation as the speech producer had in mind. In producing and comprehending a text, be it spoken or written, the interlocutors collaborate towards coherence. They negotiate for a common ground of shared topicality, reference and thematic structure — thus toward a similar mental representation of the text. In conversation, the negotiation takes place between the present participants. In writing or oral narrative, the negotiation takes place in the mind of the text producer, between the text producer and his/her mental representation of the mind of the absent or inactive interlocutor. The cognitive mechanisms that underlie face-to-face communication thus continue to shape text production and comprehension in non-interactive contexts. Most of the papers in this volume were originally presented at the Symposium on Coherence in Spontaneous Text, held at the University of Oregon in the spring of 1992.
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