Joint Acquisition of Path and Manner Action Description

AbstractThe present study examines language patterns in the formation of common ground in collaborative action tasks. Based on the classic Clark and Wilkes-Gibbs’ (1986) paradigm for object descriptions, we examined dialogue between pairs of participants as they work cooperatively to maneuver a remote control car following both manner and path instructions. Overall, we replicated Clark and Wilkes-Gibbs’ (1986) results in the domain of action in the decline of word count, verb phrases, turn taking, and number of errors committed, with diminishing returns after one trial. However, we also document specific language reductions in path related actions, but not in manner related actions. We suggest that path actions particularly depend on compositional descriptors of the environment, consistent with the contemporary conceptualization of action (Barsalou, 2009).

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