LINGUIST List 23.5237

Thu Dec 13 2012

Books: Meaning and Relevance: Sperber, Wilson

Editor for this issue: Rebekah McClure <>

Date: 30-Nov-2012
From: Joyce Reid <>
Subject: Meaning and Relevance: Sperber, Wilson
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Title: Meaning and RelevancePublication Year: 2012Publisher: Cambridge University Press

Book URL:

Author: Deirdre WilsonAuthor: Dan Sperber

Hardback: ISBN: 9780521766777 Pages: 400 Price: U.S. $ 105.00Paperback: ISBN: 9780521747486 Pages: 400 Price: U.S. $ 45.00


When people speak, their words never fully encode what they mean, and thecontext is always compatible with a variety of interpretations. How cancomprehension ever be achieved? Wilson and Sperber argue that comprehension isa process of inference guided by precise expectations of relevance. What arethe relations between the linguistically encoded meanings studied in semanticsand the thoughts that humans are capable of entertaining and conveying? Howshould we analyse literal meaning, approximations, metaphors and ironies? Isthe ability to understand speakers' meanings rooted in a more general humanability to understand other minds? How do these abilities interact inevolution and in cognitive development? Meaning and Relevance sets out toanswer these and other questions, enriching and updating relevance theory andexploring its implications for linguistics, philosophy, cognitive science andliterary studies.

Table of Contents

Introduction: 1. Pragmatics

Part I. Relevance and Meaning:

2. The mapping between the mental and the public lexicon3. Truthfulness and relevance4. Rhetoric and relevance5. A deflationary account of metaphors6. Explaining irony

Part II. Explicit and Implicit Communication:

7. Linguistic form and relevance8. Pragmatics and time9. Recent approaches to bridging: truth, coherence, relevance10. Mood and the analysis of non-declarative sentences11. Metarepresentation in linguistic communication

Part III. Cross-disciplinary Themes:

12. Pragmatics, modularity and mindreading13. Testing the cognitive and communicative principles of relevance14. The why and how of experimental pragmatics15. A pragmatic perspective on the evolution of language

Linguistic Field(s): Pragmatics

Written In: English (eng)

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Cambridge Scholars Publishing

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---------------------- Other Supporting Publishers ----------------------

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Page Updated: 13-Dec-2012