The Speech Act of Clarification in a Dialogue Model

Douglas Walton


In this paper, a set of felicity conditions for the speech act of clarifying is presented, and it is shown how clarification can be distinguished from explanation. A formal system of clarification dialogue called CD is constructed that builds the speech ace of offering a clarification into the system as a distinctive kind of move made by a participant in the dialogue. One party requests clarification of the other party's previous utterance, and then the other party attempts to provide it. At the same time, the dialogue at a global level has a communal goal of solving a problem caused by ambiguity, obscurity of expression, or some other difficulty that prevents a discussion for moving forward. Locution rules, dialogue moves, clarification rules and termination rules for CD are provided. 


argumentation; dialogue models; ambiguity; explanation; misunderstanding; dialectical shifts

Full Text:



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2017 Douglas Walton

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Studies in Communication Sciences | ISSN: 1424-4896