Retraction With Face Saving: modelling conversational interaction through dynamic hypermedia
This paper describes RWFS (Retraction With Face Saving), a hypermedia application which models an interview between a lawyer and his client - a lorry driver - facing court charges of reckless driving. At one level RWFS takes the form of a sophisticated game in which different outcomes to the interview are possible according to the learner's degree of skill. At another level, RWFS is designed to encourage the language learner's awareness and understanding of the pragmatic features of conversation. RWFS runs on HyperContext, a hybrid hypertextlexpert system developed in Pavia by two of the authors, Marco Piastra and Roberto Bolognesi, and which supports dynamic hypermedia units. HyperContext's dynamic linking capacity plays a vital role in simulating significant conversational features such as the conditioning of a current move in the conversation by information acquired much earlier in the course of the interview. In this connection, the paper discusses the contribution of RMCI (Re-usable Model of Conversational Interaction), a re-usable application-independent applied model of interaction on which the game is based, and which links a tactical level (the conversation) to a metalevel which provides a moveby- move commentary on interactional theory. In its turn, RMCFs metalevel is linked to a strategic level which interprets the structure of the conversation in terms of a pyramid-like hierarchy of increasingly abstract theoretical concepts.