The four characteristics of internal conversation

The four features of internal conversation: privacy, ellipsis, personalization and context dependency. The first refers to the unavoidable interiority of internal conversation, as well as the topical freedom and the impossibility of misinterpreting the literal meaning of our inner dialogues. The second refers to the contraction of internal conversation relative to external speech, such that the “redundancy of communicated information, whether in spoken or written form, which linguists estimate at 60-70 per cent” is absent i.e. internal conversation is faster and shorter than external speech. The third refers to the tendency of internal conversation to proceed in terms of personalized and idiosyncratic meanings terms take on internally which are often difficult to communicate in a straight-forward manner in external speech. The fourth refers to the form and content of our internal conversations being context bound, in the sense that we take for granted a certain mental topography which is dependent upon characteristics of the external environment (Archer 2007: 73-86).

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