The Interpretation Of Indirect Utterances Essay

920 words - 4 pages

The Interpretation of Indirect Utterances* Types of Indirectness- This study asserts the importance of communicative competence in learning. It discusses one aspect of communicative competence : the interpretation of indirect utterances .- Two types of indirectness are addressed here in this study :1- Pragmatic Ambivalence .2- Implicature .1- Pragmatic Ambivalence- Pragmatic Ambivalence, as Thomas ( 1995 ) argues, occurs when the intended force of an utterance, such as " Is that the phone ? ", is quite indeterminate. This is by virtue of the fact that it can be either a straightforward question or a request to the hearer to answer the phone. Thus, Pragmatic Ambivalence is used when the speaker does not " make clear precisely which range of related illocutionary values is intended. " For example an utterance like " It is cold in here ", can be used as a constative ( report about the temperature in the room ), a request to turn on the heating system, or an excuse to leave the room .- Thomas ( 1988 ) distinguishes between ambiguity and ambivalence. Ambiguity is a semantic grammatical term. It is the case that one meaning is intended by the speaker. With Ambivalence, which operates at a pragmatic level, both speaker and addresser understand that more than one interpretation is possible. Coates' notion of Indetermincy refers to the same phenomenon .2- Implicature- Yule ( 1996 ) defines Implicature as an " additional conveyed meaning ". Implicatures are thus " examples of more being communicated than is said ". Green ( 1989 ) argues that " much of the value of implicature in conversation lies in its indirectness, in the fact that it allows the speaker to avoid saying exactly what she means to convey ".- Yule continues to argue that " the concept of there being an expected amount of information provided in conversation is just one aspect of the more general idea that people involved in a conversation will cooperate with each other ".- Moreover, Green ( 1989 ) argues that " Implicatures are likely to arise or to be intended whenever a maxim appears to be conspicuously violated, and whether or not the maxim is sacrificed for another maxim ".- In this context Grice's cooperative principle should be referred to since, as Yule argues, in order to interpret implicature " some basic cooperative principle must first be assumed to be in the operation ".* The Cooperative Principle ( CP )- In his ( 1975 ) influential article, Grice introduces the Cooperative Principal to explain the mechanisms by which people interpret " conversational implicature ". The Cooperative Principal, as Grice argues, runs as follows :" make your contribution such as is required, at the stage at which it occurs, by the accepted purpose or direction of the talk exchange in which you are engaged ".In...

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