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Is there anyone out there who really is interested in the speaker?

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The presentation argues that current pragmatic theories are usually hearer-centered. The reasons of hearer-centeredness are as follows: 1) Misinterpretation of the Gricean implicature, which is an aspect of speaker meaning rather than a meaning inferred by the hearer. 2) There has developed a powerful theory of utterances interpretation (Relevance Theory) whose focus is mainly on the hearer. I will argue that speaker utterance should be analyzed on its own rights and make three claims: 1) Speaker utterance is not just recipient design. It is the result of the interplay of recipient design and salience, which will be discussed from a socio-cognitive perspective. 2) In a speaker-focused approach linguistic underdeterminacy of linguistic signs may not work the way it does in a hearer-centered approach. The speaker’s utterance from the speaker’s perspective is a full proposition and does not need any enrichment and/or saturation. Underdeterminacy makes sense only from the hearer’s perspective. 3) In order to get as close as possible to what the speaker actually means we often need to go beyond utterance.

This talk is part of the Cambridge Linguistics Forum series.

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