Grounding in Communication
H.H. Clark and S.E. Brennan

Sep 22, 1999


This paper provides a good presentation of the requirement to find a common ground in order to communicate. In addition it clearly shows the collaborative nature of communication, both at the content level and at the process level. As people tend to use the least effort, communication should be consider in the light of "the least collaborative effort" assumption. Finally, this paper presents how different mediums affect the costs (and efforts required) of communication.


I liked the paper and I think it makes a good lesson in understanding the collaborative nature of grounding. I also feel that there are more levels to communication than grounding. People do not always try to be understood completely (i.e. being mysterious, or purposely being ambiguous).

When speaking a foreign language the costs also change, as the production costs usually are greater, the speaker might shift the repairs to the listener. Otherwise the speaker is prompted to make repairs too often and their cost increases, as they become very annoying.