Indeterminacy in dialogue
Indeterminacy in language is commonly resorted to for a variety of reasons, in several different forms. After touching on the fuzzy boundaries of indeterminacy with respect to vagueness and ambiguity, several linguistic devices (among which, unexpectedly, also cardinal numbers) are introduced and discussed in relation to the prototypical form of dialogue, the role of context/co-text, and the interactional level. Not surprisingly, ‘interaction’ turns out to be a key word in understanding the widespread recourse to indeterminacy in dialogue, especially in face-to-face situations, which provide interactants with a wide range of contextual components. These are useful for retrieving the overall picture and, in certain cases, making it clear, also thanks to multiple resources that are integrated in the dialogic development and in the process of understanding. Unavoidably, indeterminacy in dialogue, a complex phenomenon, has to be dealt with in an integrated perspective.