Interactional linguistics

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Not to be confused with Interactional sociolinguistics.

Interactional linguistics is a recent interdisciplinary approach to grammar and interaction in the fields of linguistics, the sociology of language, and anthropology. Scholars in interactional linguistics draw from functional linguistics, conversation analysis, and linguistic anthropology in order to describe "the way in which language figures in everyday interaction and cognition."[1] Studies in interactional linguistics view linguistic forms, including syntactic and prosodic structures, as greatly affected by interactions among participants in speech, signing, or other language use. The field contrasts with dominant approaches to linguistics during the twentieth century, which tended to focus either on the form of language per se, or on theories of individual language user's linguistic competence.[2]

Recent research in Interactional linguistics finds that "the beginnings of the emergence of grammar can be found in individual interactions"[3] and that "grammar emerges through interaction among participants who are constantly reusing and modifying prior utterances to achieve current interactive goals."[3]


  1. ^ Ochs, E., E. Schegloff and S. Thompson. (1996) Interaction and Grammar. Cambridge University Press.
  2. ^ Couper-Kuhlen, E. and M. Selting. (2001) Studies in Interactional Linguistics. John Benjamins.
  3. ^ a b Su, Danjie. (2016) Grammar emerges through reuse and modification of prior utterances. Discourse Studies 18(3). 1-24.

Further reading[edit]

  • Couper-Kuhlen, E. and M. Selting. (1996) Prosody in Conversation: Interactional Studies. Cambridge University Press.
  • Ford, C. (1993) Grammar in Interaction. Cambridge University Press.
  • Ford, C. and J. Wagner (1996) Interaction-based Studies of Language. Special issue of Pragmatics 6(3).