Answering machine talk – under academic scrutiny

• What is ‘Answering Machine Talk’?

“Answering machine talk represents a form of mediated conversation in which messages are recorded to facilitate communication between participants.“

• What of the resources?

“The talk which occurs in such messages draws upon the pool of available resources for telephone-based communication…”

• What of the constraints?

“[telephone-based communication] … modifies these resources as the result of constraints imposed by the communicative environment.”

The quotes come from the paper : Discourse routines in answering machine communication in Australia (Discourse Processes, Volume 17, Issue 2, 1994) by Tony Liddicoat, now Professor in Applied Linguistics, at the School of Communication, International Studies and Languages, of the University of South Australia.

We shouldn’t ignore an earlier paper : Answering machine talk (Discourse Processes, Volume 14, Issue 2, 1991, Ruby Gold) which had laid the important groundwork for the subject, explaining that:

“Answering machine talk appears to be a unique form of discourse employing elements of ‘performative’ spoken language, written language, and special uses of prosodic markers to create ‘dialogue’ with an absent interlocutor.”






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