A Relevance-Theoretic Approach
Chapter 2: Explicatures: how far do interpreters go?
Explicatures: how far do interpreters go?
Any framework designed to provide a theoretically sound account of communication must explain what is communicated and how communication is accomplished (Sperber and Wilson 1986/95: 54).1 There seems to be widespread agreement among pragmaticists of various persuasions that what is communicated in verbal exchanges should be viewed in terms of the speaker’s meaning, but there is no agreement on how speaker meaning is to be analysed and accounted for (Orrigi and Sperber 2000:156). Most analyses assume that there are two distinct levels that need to be considered in elucidating what speaker meaning involves, that is, explicit and implicit import.2 However, the issue of where the borderline between these two should be drawn and what processes underlie the recovery of each remains controversial and debatable (Carston 2004b).
RT is a fully inferential model of communication, in which the linguistic signal used by the communicator is assumed to constitute a piece of evidence for the meaning she intends to communicate. It is on the basis of this ostensive stimulus (see Ch.1.5-1.8) that the recipient infers the meaning expressed by the speaker (Sperber and Wilson 2008: 87-8; Wilson and Sperber 2004: 607). This means that on the relevance-theoretic approach, recovering the explicitly communicated meaning is taken to embrace decoding as well as inferential processes, with the former being an output of the workings of the language module and the latter involving hypothesizing from the...
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.
Do you have any questions? Contact us.Or login to access all content.