Edited By Bárbara Eizaga-Rebollar
Section 3: Communication and Cognition
BÁRBARA EIZAGA REBOLLAR1 Meaning Adjustment Processes in Idiom Variants 1. Introduction Speakers often, if not always, use words in such a way that they com- municate different meanings from those linguistically encoded by the words. Thus, hearers have to pragmatically adjust speakers’ meaning in context to interpret their utterance in a way that fulfills their expec- tations of relevance. According to Relevance Theory (RT from now onwards), this meaning adjustment can be achieved by two comple- mentary processes that take place during interpretation: narrowing and broadening. Therefore, in this chapter I will sketch the role of Relevance in intentional communication in Section 2. Section 3 will show that the communicated meaning can be narrowed and broadened to different degrees and in different ways during the interpretation process to yield an ad hoc concept. In Section 4 we will present an analysis of how speakers’ meanings are pragmatically adjusted in the case of idiom variants using these two complementary processes and exploiting a resemblance with an implicitly alluded idiom. The different attitudes speakers convey by exploiting such resemblance will be briefly dealt with in Section 5. Finally, Section 6 summarizes the main findings of this work. 1 . 186 Bárbara Eizaga Rebollar 2. Relevance role in intentional communication Humans always have many stimuli competing for their attention. As cognitive efficiency is a matter of choosing the most relevant piece of information and processing it in the most relevant context, human cognition is geared to the maximization of relevance (Cognitive Prin-...
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