"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more
To find some answers Tim Machan explores the language's present and past, and looks ahead to its futures among the one and a half billion people who speak it. His search is fascinating and important, for definitions of English have influenced education and law in many countries and helped shape the identities of those who live in them.
This volume provides a new perspective on the evolution of the special language of medicine, based on the electronic corpus of Early Modern English Medical Texts, containing over two million words of medical writing from 1500 to 1700.
When people speak, their words never fully encode what they mean, and the context is always compatible with a variety of interpretations. How can comprehension ever be achieved? Wilson and Sperber argue that comprehension is a process of inference guided by precise expectations of relevance. What are the relations between the linguistically encoded meanings studied in semantics and the thoughts that humans are capable of entertaining and conveying? How should we analyse literal meaning, approximations, metaphors and ironies? Is the ability to understand speakers' meanings rooted in a more general human ability to understand other minds? How do these abilities interact in evolution and in cognitive development? Meaning and Relevance sets out to answer these and other questions, enriching and updating relevance theory and exploring its implications for linguistics, philosophy, cognitive science and literary studies.
Table of Contents
Introduction: 1. Pragmatics
Part I. Relevance and Meaning:
2. The mapping between the mental and the public lexicon
3. Truthfulness and relevance
4. Rhetoric and relevance
5. A deflationary account of metaphors
6. Explaining irony
Part II. Explicit and Implicit Communication:
7. Linguistic form and relevance
8. Pragmatics and time
9. Recent approaches to bridging: truth, coherence, relevance
10. Mood and the analysis of non-declarative sentences
11. Metarepresentation in linguistic communication
Part III. Cross-disciplinary Themes:
12. Pragmatics, modularity and mindreading
13. Testing the cognitive and communicative principles of relevance
14. The why and how of experimental pragmatics
15. A pragmatic perspective on the evolution of language