Bridging and Relevance by Tomoko Matsui

By Tomoko Matsui

Whereas it has lengthy been taken with no consideration that context or heritage details performs an important function in reference task, there were only a few severe makes an attempt to enquire precisely how they're used. This examine presents a solution to the query via an in depth research of instances of bridging. The ebook demonstrates that once encountering a referring expression, the hearer is ready to pick out a suite of contextual assumptions meant through the speaker in a principled approach, out of all of the assumptions very likely on hand to him. It claims extra particularly that using context, in addition to the project of referent, is ruled through a unmarried pragmatic precept, particularly, the primary of relevance (Sperber & Wilson 1986/1995), that is additionally a unmarried precept governing total utterance interpretation. The explanatory strength of the criterion in response to the main of relevance is proven opposed to the 2 significant, present possible choices ― truth-based standards and coherence-based standards ― utilizing facts elicited in a battery of referent project questionnaires. the consequences convey in actual fact that the relevance-based criterion has extra predictive energy to address a much wider variety of examples than the other current criterion. As such, this paintings provides to the transforming into physique of proof helping the insights of relevance theory.
The paintings has been offered the 2001 Ichikawa Award for the simplest success in English Linguistics by way of a tender pupil in Japan.

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Chapter five looks at factors affecting the acceptability of bridging. Six accounts involving different criteria for acceptability, are assessed: two make truth the central factor; one appeals to accessibility of candidate referents; one invokes both truth and accessibility; one invokes truth and coherence. Each account is tested against a range of examples on which I have conducted questionnaire studies designed to examine the factors affecting subjects choices of referent and Judgements of acceptability.

The idea is that by attracting someone's attention, a communicator is asking for some effort to be spent. Since humans are not willing to spend their effort for nothing - requests for attention create expectations of some reward. The main claim of relevance theory is that the reward for attention and mental effort is relevant information. Hence, a communicator who requests your attention creates an expectation that you will get adequately relevant information as a reward. This fact is expressed in the communicative principle of ' relevance.

The listener still has to infer what referent was intended, as he does in all cases of reference assignment - but he already knows that this referent exists. Consider now a definite noun phrase which redescribes its antecedent, as in example (28), where the new assumption would be 'The man whom the speaker met was a nasty fellow This assumption may be called an "implicature', in the sense that it is (a) new and (b) part of the intended context. Such referring expressions are quite different from the two mentioned above, because an implicature is needed in order to assign reference correctly.

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