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The Art of Conversation: How Do We Communicate Successfully?

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Article number639598
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>25/03/2022
<mark>Journal</mark>Frontiers for Young Minds
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Every day we talk with people. But have you ever wondered how two people with completely separate minds manage to understand each other? To have a successful conversation, you must understand the language that the other person is using and produce language that your conversational partner can understand, otherwise communicating can become difficult. One thing that human speakers do to make sure that the other person understands them is to copy the language that their conversational partners use, such as their word choices. This is called alignment, and it increases the likelihood of two people having a successful conversation or doing well on a shared task. Scientific experiments have shown that alignment is an important feature of human communication that occurs in multiple situations. In this article, we explain three different types of alignment that speakers use and describe how language scientists study alignment.