Most people modify their ways of speaking, writing, texting, and e-mailing, and so on, according to the people with whom they are communicating. This fascinating book asks why we 'accommodate' to others in this way, and explores the various social consequences arising from it.
This book uses Sperber and Wilson's relevance theory to show that connectivity in discourse is a pragmatic rather than a semantic matter: it results from relevance relations between text and context rather than from relations linguistically encoded in the text. In two introductory chapters, Regina Blass argues that relevance theory offers a more explanatory account of discourse connectivity than do alternative approaches based on notions of cohesion, coherence and topic. In subsequent chapters, she introduces data from the language Sissala and shows how relevance theory can play an important role in guiding and constraining semantic and pragmatic analyses of these data. This approach reveals unexpected results - for example the detection of an interpretive use marker in Sissala, with implications for the analysis of so-called 'hearsay phenomena' in other languages - and leads to a new basis for particle typology.
"The greatest strength of this book is the originality of the research." Notes on Linguistics "B's study contains a host of interesting observations and ideas, and reading it is very thought-provoking and rewarding." Language