Presentation No.1Subject: PragmaticsTopic: Implicit Meaning: Sperber and Wilsons Relevance Theory Chapter FivePresented by Ijaz AhmedSupervised by Dr. Iqbal Butt Discipline: Mphil in Linguistics Determining Relevance
In this chapter it will be examined the argument set out in Sperber and Wilsons major book Relevance: communication and cognition (second edition,1995)A single principle of relevance is sufficient to explain the process of utterance understandingSperber and Wilson are not satisfied with the problematic nature of Gricean implicature. They want a theory which goes beyond the problematic and enables addresses to be sure that they have recovered the most relevant of potentially infinite set of inferences.Explicature and Implicature Three examplesAngel ParkingWhats noticeable is that even elaborating the syntactic relation of Angel parking requires inferences which demand a great deal of real-world knowledge about angel and what road sign are for. In order to understand what was meant by displaying this road sign, passing motorists needed to recover an explicature.ContSecond example:Please attend course planning and examiners meetings in future First impression is panic. Ive missed meeting I am instructed to attend meeting. In order to understand what Alice meant by her message. We need to recover the appropriate higher level explicature.
Cont..Third example:Have you seen my book?You would need to take a lot of context into account in order to determine what the speaker meant by their utterance. If the speaker is your room mate and you had habit of borrowing her property without permission, she might be accusing you of taking her book and the utterance might be taken as demand for its return.Third example..But if your tutor said it to you. He may intent to ask you to read my book and get the true concept from it. Indeterminacy: the motivation for enrichmentExplicature, the inference or series of inferences that enrich the under-determined form produced by the speaker to a full propositional form are motivated by the indeterminacy of language.This indeterminacy is a consequence of the economy of expression which characterizes natural language. It requires an inferential process which provides as enriched interpretation consistent with the context of the utterance and the speakers encyclopedic knowledge The essential principles of Relevance Theory 1: Every utterance comes with a guarantee of its own particular relevance. Thus to understand an utterance is to prove its relevance.As Sperber and Wilson say, An individuals particular cognitive goal of a given moment is always an instance of more general goal maximizing the relevance of the information processed (1995:49)Cont..2 Addressees cannot prove the relevance of the utterance they hear without taking context into account. The speaker must make some assumptions about the hearers cognitive abilities and contextual resources.3 Grammatical linguistic structure, a single syntactic relation may represent a very wide range of logical and semantic relations Cont..4 The propositional form of an utterance has been fully elaborated, the utterance may be regarded as a premise, which taken together with other, non-linguistic premises available to the hearer as contextual resources, enable him to deduce the relevant understanding. For example: Have you seen my book? Cont.5 The most accessible interpretation is the most relevant. This is also the essential principleContext is not treated as given common ground, but rather as a set of more or less accessible items of information which are stored in short-term and encyclopedic memories or manifest in the physical environment Procedural encoding Procedural encodings are processing instruction to be applied to conceptual meanings their effect is to make easier the recovery of the most relevant interpretation by constraining i.e. limiting.Procedural encodings include sentence adverbs like fortunately and clearly. Disjoints like anyway and after all and discourse particles like so and therefore. Which constrain the search for a relevant interpretation by showing how the propositions to which constrain their interpretations and conjunctions like but, their main function is to constrain an assumption warranted by the proposition that proceed it. Salience and inferenceMost salient interpretation of the sentence you have just read (but not perhaps of this one ) is its entailment.This realization suggests that we need to research what determines whether the most salient assumption will be an explicature derived by inferential development of the propositional form of the utterance to a full propositional form or an implicature derived by inferential alone. Implicature and explicatureWe will call an explicitly communicated assumption an explicature.Any assumption communicated but not explicitly so, is implicitly communicated it is an implicature)Sperber and Wilson, 1995: 182). Because explicatures are an intermediate level of understanding between what is said and the implicature that are entirely inferred, the model provides for the possibility of a failure to understand on a graded scale at three level entailment, explicature, implicatureImplicated premises and implicated conclusionWe will distinguish between two kinds of implicatures implicated premises and implicated conclusions (Sperber and Wilson, 1995:195)Sperber and Wilson show that deriving an implicature from an explicature is sometimes a two step process which requires a first implicatuer or implicated premise, before the consequent implicature, or implicated conclusion, can be inferred. Speaker judgment and hearer resources The speaker must make some assumption about the hearers cognitive abilities and contextual resources.Recovering meanings and processing opportunityThe organization of the individuals encyclopedic memory and the mental activity in which he is engaged, limit the class of potential context from which an actual context can be chosen at any given time Sperber and Wilson, 1995: 138 this reminds us that pressure of time, complexity of structure, etcAccessibility
The most accessible interpretation is the most relevant since A phenomenon is relevant to an individual to the extent that the effort required to process it is small (Sperber and Wilson, 1995: 153) Of course there are degrees of accessibility and the means chosen to convey meanings may have different accessibility properties for different addresseesConclusion : At the end it can be concluded that: Every utterance comes with a guarantee of its own particular relevance.Addressees cannot prove the relevance of the utterance they hear without taking context into account. The speaker must make some assumptions about the hearers cognitive abilities and contextual resources. Grammatical linguistic structure, a single syntactic relation may represent a very wide range of logical and semantic relations The utterance may be regarded as a premise, which taken together with other, The most accessible interpretation is the most relevant. This is also the essential principle