Social Responsibility in Spoken Dialogue

  • Daniel C. O’Connell
  • Sabine Kowal
Part of the Cognition and Language: A Series in Psycholinguistics book series (CALS)


In this chapter, we discuss a corollary of our position that field-observational data are the appropriate basis for a psychology of verbal communication. We argue that a psychologically adequate understanding of spoken dialogue, including both empractical and conversational speech, is not possible without taking into account social responsibility. The four fundamental psychological principles (intersubjectivity, perspectivity, open-endedness, and verbal integrity), reiterated in several chapters as the general theoretical basis of this book, are presented here as universal prescientific criteria whereby social responsibility in spoken dialogue is established. In other words, we wish to emphasize their moral import. Accordingly, the impact of each of the principles for socially responsible dialogical interaction is presented herein. We wish to acknowledge that the scientific initiative for this emphasis on morality has come largely from Ragnar Rommetveit’s writings. In addition, we argue that, in the final analysis, the social responsibility for the words uttered in dialogue is localized solely in the individual speaker, and correspondingly, the social responsibility for what is understood is localized solely in the individual listener. These responsibilities are not jointly shared, even though communication is a joint activity. We make use of examples from our corpora to point out differences in social responsibility across empractical and conversational settings.


Social Responsibility Moral Dimension Verbal Integrity Individual Listener Conversational Speech 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel C. O’Connell
    • 1
  • Sabine Kowal
    • 2
  1. 1.Georgetown UniversityWashingtonUSA
  2. 2.Institut für Sprache und KommunikationTechnische UniversitätBerlinGermany

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