This book explores current pragmatic theory applied to Spanish, focusing on
a number of key aspects within utterance interpretation, communication and
cognition. It involves applications of pragmatic theory to various areas of
Spanish language mentioned below. In doing so, it critically considers
earlier approaches to the study of pragmatic interpretation, including,
particularly, the Gricean approach to linguistic communication.
The book argues that this earlier approach to pragmatics does not measure
up to critical analysis and is thus subject to a number of counterexamples.
In particular, the evidence shows that Gricean pragmatics doesn’t provide
either a sufficient or necessary basis for a comprehensive and unified
account of utterance interpretation.
An alternative approach is then discussed based on the notion of relevance,
as developed within Relevance Theory, which integrates the role of context
and cognition within linguistic communication. This alternative view shows
that it is possible to provide a unified account of pragmatics by taking
into account two fundamental aspects about human cognition: processing
effort and cognitive effects. The interaction between these aspects and
communicative cognition provides the basis for a comprehensive account of
utterance interpretation, which resolves many of the problems encountered
by earlier approaches.
In applying and developing these pragmatic concepts, a number of areas are
covered within Spanish. Firstly, the current framework is considered as a
general approach to Spanish pragmatics. Secondly, the distinction between
explicit and implicit meaning is applied to a range of constructions in
Spanish. Thirdly, there is a discussion on the role of pragmatics in
disambiguation processes in Spanish. Finally, the new approach is applied
to irony and metaphor in Spanish, including a discussion on the new
research area of lexical pragmatics.