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relevance theory


Subject Linguistics

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631214823.1999.x


According to this cognitive, pragmatic theory (see pragmatics ) all communication is ostensive-inferential and not code-based. The communicator's aim is to minimize the information-processing effort and maximize the contextual effects of an utterance. Inferential comprehension of the communicator's ostensive behaviour relies on deductive processing of new information presented in the context of old information. This derivation of new information gives rise to certain contextual effects in the cognitive environment of the audience. Thus, the relevance of an utterance (phenomenon) increases when its contextual effects are large, and when the effort required to process it optimally is small. ( 1992 ). Understanding Utterances . Oxford : Blackwell. [A useful introduction to pragmatics from a relevance perspective.] . ( 1986 ). Relevance: Communication and cognition . Oxford : Blackwell. [The original formulation of relevance theory.] . ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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