Other-initiated repair across languages

Special issue of Open Linguistics edited by Mark Dingemanse & N. J. Enfield


This special issue reports on a set of findings of a large-scale research project looking at patterns of language use from a systematic comparative perspective. The focus is on a common and crucial aspect of language use: other-initiated repair, or how participants in interaction deal with problems in speaking, hearing and understanding. Articles in this issue describe the domain of other-initiated repair in a dozen languages based on video corpora of conversation.

By delivering new work on a dozen of languages, the issue more than doubles the number of available descriptions of other-initiated repair across languages. The introduction to the special issue describes the research methods, a common conceptual framework, and cross-linguistic generalisations. Taken as a whole, the issue demonstrates a methodology for the systematic comparative study of social interaction, using a combination of qualitative and quantitative analysis, and building on insights from conversation analysis, linguistic typology, and usage-based studies of language structure.

Other-initiated repair across languages: towards a typology of conversational structures
Mark Dingemanse & N. J. Enfield

Other-initiated repair in Lao
N.J. Enfield 

Other-initiated repair in English
Kobin H. Kendrick

Other-initiated repair in Siwu
Mark Dingemanse

Other-initiated repair in Icelandic
Rosa S. Gisladottir

Other-initiated repair in Murrinh-Patha
Joe Blythe

Other-initiated repair in Italian
Giovanni Rossi

Other-initiated repair in Yélî Dnye: Seeing eye-to- eye in the language of Rossel Island
Stephen C. Levinson

Other-initiated repair in Cha’palaa
Simeon Floyd

Other-initiated repair in Russian
Julija Baranova

Other-initiated repair in Argentine Sign Language
Elizabeth Manrique

A coding scheme for other-initiated repair across languages
Mark Dingemanse, Kobin H. Kendrick, N. J. Enfield

Background of guest editors 

Mark Dingemanse is research staff at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics. His research focuses on the interplay of language, culture and cognition. He has published on iconicity, conversational structure and pragmatic typology. With Nick Enfield, he coordinates the repair project.

N. J. Enfield is Professor of Linguistics at the University of Sydney. His latest books include Relationship Thinking (OUP, 2013), Natural Causes of Language (Language Science Press, 2014), and The Utility of Meaning (OUP, 2015). He has published more than 100 articles and reviews.


The research reported here is funded by the ERC project Human Sociality and Systems of Language Use (240853) and by the Language and Cognition Department of the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics.