|Title:||Conceptual and Procedural Encoding in Relevance Theory: A study with reference to English and Kiswahili||Add Dissertation|
|Author:||Steve Nicolle||Update Dissertation|
|Email:||click here to access email|
|Institution:||University of York, Department of Language and Linguistic Science|
|Abstract:||Recent work within relevance theory suggests that the distinction between truth-conditional and non-truth-conditional meaning is of limited value in the study of linguistic (as opposed to logical) semantics. Of potentially greater interest is the distinction between conceptual and procedural encoding. Conceptual encoding contributes to the construction of conceptual representations in the mind of the addressee, whilst procedural encoding provides the addressee with instructions as to how conceptual representations are to be manipulated to achieve relevance.
The primary aims of this thesis are, firstly to clarify the currently intuitive distinction between conceptual and procedural encoding by providing a precise characterisation of procedural information and a set of criteria by which linguistically encoded information can be identified as either conceptual or procedural, and secondly to determine some of the implications of the distinction for linguistic semantics.
I propose that procedural encoding is of two basic kinds: that which constrains the manipulation of propositional conceptual representations, and that which constrains the manipulation of sub-propositional conceptual representations. An example of the former is the discourse connective 'so', which establishes an inferential connection between the proposition with which it is associated and some highly accessible assumption. This type of procedural encoding has been widely discussed.
Less widely discussed is procedural encoding which constrains the manipulation of sub-propositional conceptual representations. I propose that such encoding is a property of grammaticized expressions, such as pronouns, and tense, aspect and modality markers. I demonstrate how a procedural account of grammatical markers accounts not only for their role in utterance interpretation (constraining the construction of propositional conceptual representations) but also for their historical development through grammaticization, and the corresponding variation in usage which linguistic change engenders.
I illustrate my thesis through an analysis of constructions in English (notably 'will', 'shall' and 'be going to') and Kiswahili.