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Journal Article

Enforcing rules during play: Knowledge, agency, and the design of instructions and reminders

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Kornfeld, L., & Rossi, G. (2023). Enforcing rules during play: Knowledge, agency, and the design of instructions and reminders. Research on Language and Social Interaction, 56(1), 42-64. doi:10.1080/08351813.2023.2170637.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000C-D0F0-9
Rules of behavior are fundamental to human sociality. Whether on the road, at the dinner table, or during a game, people monitor one another’s behavior for conformity to rules and may take action to rectify violations. In this study, we examine two ways in which rules are enforced during games: instructions and reminders. Building on prior research, we identify instructions as actions produced to rectify violations based on another’s lack of knowledge of the relevant rule; knowledge that the instruction is designed to impart. In contrast to this, the actions we refer to as reminders are designed to enforce rules presupposing the transgressor’s competence and treating the violation as the result of forgetfulness or oversight. We show that instructing and reminding actions differ in turn design, sequential development, the epistemic stances taken by transgressors and enforcers, and in how the action affects the progressivity of the interaction. Data are in German and Italian from the Parallel European Corpus of Informal Interaction (PECII).