“We’re running out of fuel”: When does miscommunication go unrepaired?

Chi-Hé Elder, David Beaver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We introduce a framework for studying repair initiation in the face of miscommunication. Our aim is to seed development of models that both predict when conversational repair is a likely communicative strategy, and explain why interlocutors would not engage in repair in the face of conversational difficulty. We identify three factors as critical to the predictability of repair: (i) the extent to which a misalignment is (un)recognised by participants (ignorance); (ii) the significance of misalignment relative to some cluster of goals (cost of misalignment); and (iii) the significance of engaging in repair relative to some cluster of goals (cost of repair). We offer a simple method for graphically depicting relevant aspects of communicative situations, and exemplify the framework with examples of non-repaired
miscommunication before discussing its applicability to different empirical domains.
Original languageEnglish
JournalIntercultural Pragmatics
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 25 Jul 2022

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