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4 - Speaker Meaning, Commitment and Accountability

from Part I - Fundamentals of Sociopragmatics

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 April 2021

Michael Haugh
University of Queensland
Dániel Z. Kádár
Hungarian Research Institute for Linguistics, and Dalian University of Foreign Languages
Marina Terkourafi
Leiden University
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Building on Grice’s seminal work on ‘speaker meaning’, this chapter explores three different approaches to meaning in communication in light of how they view the relationship between ‘speaker meanings’ and ‘speaker commitments’: (1) inferential accounts of intentional meaning (stemming from Relevance Theory), (2) normative commitment-based approaches to communication and (3) interactional achievement accounts. It examines how these different perspectives yield different results regarding the meanings that speakers are committed to, held committed to by others or held normatively committed to in virtue of conventions of language use. Finally, it demonstrates how the concept of ‘reflexive accountability’ from talk-in-interaction provides the link in the sociopragmatic toolkit between questions about meaning recovery and the questions of why and how speakers choose to formulate their utterances in different ways for different purposes.

Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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