Book chapter

The role of explicature in communication and in intercultural communication

ContributorsMoeschler, Jacques
Published inExplorations in Pragmatics. Linguistic, Cognitive and Intercultural Aspects, Editors Kecskes, I. & Horn, L. R., p. 73-94
PublisherBerlin : Mouton de Gruyter
Publication date2007

This paper tries to give empirical and theoretical arguments for the central role of explicatures in verbal communication, either monocultural or intercultural. The main point of the article is to show that classical Gricean pragmatics makes erroneous predictions about the level at which misunderstandings can occur. Intercultural verbal communication is a very relevant domain of investigation for intercultural pragmatics, because failures of communication cannot be reduced to basic linguistic erroneous encodings. Moreover, interesting situations show that intercultural communication problems arise when speakers are not engaged in a linguistic decoding task, but are about to discover what the informative intention of the speaker is. Unsurprisingly, context and its content (a set of implicated premises) is the core issue for explaining intercultural misunderstanding. The paper discusses a standard example of intercultural misunderstanding and gives a relevance-theoretical explanation. More precisely, the level at which intercultural problems arises is the level of explicature, either basic (propositional form) or higher-ordered (illocutionary force and propositional attitude). Basic concepts of Relevance Theory (ostensive-inferential communication, relevance, the cognitive and communicative principles of relevance, explicature and implicature) are defined and applied to a fine-grained analysis of the tool- example of the article. The paper ends with a general proposition about what intercultural misunderstanding is, and shows why a shared language can be a distracting factor and can play a role in an intercultural communicative problem.

Citation (ISO format)
MOESCHLER, Jacques. The role of explicature in communication and in intercultural communication. In: Explorations in Pragmatics. Linguistic, Cognitive and Intercultural Aspects. Berlin : Mouton de Gruyter, 2007. p. 73–94.
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Book chapter (Published version)
  • PID : unige:110265

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