Speaker Meaning, Commitment and Accountability

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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.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCambridge Handbook of Sociopragmatics
EditorsMichael Haugh, Dániel Z. Kádár, Marina Terkourafi
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021

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