Identity inferences: implicatures, implications and extended interpretations

Clark, Billy (2020) Identity inferences: implicatures, implications and extended interpretations. Language and Literature. ISSN 0963-9470 (In Press)

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This paper considers how ideas from relevance-theoretic pragmatics can be applied in understanding the construction of identity in interaction, while presupposing that consideration of ideas about identity can make a significant contribution to pragmatic theories. While previous work on pragmatics has focused on the construction and performance of identity (see, for example, Spencer-Oatey and Ruhi 2007), this has not been much discussed in work from a relevance-theoretic perspective. For illustration, the paper refers mainly to a video recording of a UK House of Commons Select Committee session on drug addiction. While the video provides considerable relevant data about identity construction, the paper does not develop a detailed analysis of the video or the extracts it focuses on. Instead it uses them to argue for the usefulness of relevance-theoretic ideas in understanding identity and impression management. The ideas focused on are: that communication can be stronger or weaker (i.e. it can be more or less clear that particular assumptions are being intentionally communicated); that there is no clear cut-off point between very weakly communicated implicatures and non-communicated implications; that interpretation generally involves going beyond what the communicator intended to derive the addressee’s own conclusions; that the effects of communicative interaction include more than the derivation of new assumptions; that adjustments to ‘cognitive environments’ (the sets of assumptions which are accessible to individuals at particular times) can continue after interactions take place. These ideas can be useful in a number of areas including in understanding identity in general, literary identities, attitudes to language varieties, the production of communicative acts, and the teaching of spoken and written communication.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: identity, implicature, impression management, pedagogy, pragmatics, relevance theory, spoken and written communication
Subjects: L900 Others in Social studies
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > Humanities
Depositing User: John Coen
Date Deposited: 07 Oct 2020 15:23
Last Modified: 08 Oct 2020 12:02

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