Pragmatic verbal repetition: Review and application of a new method of quantification

Diana Van Lancker Sidtis, Rachel Wolf

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The use of "pragmatic repetition," the iteration of one's own speech or the speech of a co-participant, while known to occur in conversation, has been overlooked in the language sciences. This study presents a method for establishing incidence, characteristics, and functions of pragmatic repetition during conversational exchanges. The method is applied to three discourse samples: a screenplay, a television reality show, and an unscripted telephone conversation. The analysis characterizes each repetition in terms of localness (immediate, delayed, or distant in the discourse); degree of preservation (identical or altered); source (self or other); the linguistic unit (word, phrase, clause, or sentence); and type of phrase (formulaic or novel). Three functional categories were identified: maintaining conversational form, enhancing content, and fostering social purposes. Results indicated that 22% of the telephone conversation and 19% of the reality show conversations constituted repeated material as compared to 9% in the screenplay. Analysis of characteristics and functions of pragmatic repetition revealed significant differences between samples. Findings from this study verify the newly developed quantification methodology, solidify the role of repetition in the pragmatics of language, and lead to better understanding of normal discourse.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)263-267
Number of pages5
JournalText and Talk
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2015


  • Conversation
  • Discourse
  • Formulaic language
  • Pragmatic repetition
  • Pragmatics
  • Repetition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Communication
  • Philosophy
  • Linguistics and Language


Dive into the research topics of 'Pragmatic verbal repetition: Review and application of a new method of quantification'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this