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Intercultural pragmatics: a cognitive approach

by Jacques Moeschler
Intercultural Pragmatics ()

Abstract

The main purpose of this paper is to explore pragmatic misunderstandings caused by intercultural factors. My thesis is that misunderstandings are caused not by difficulty in drawing the intended implicature, but primarily by lack of access to the correct explicature of the utterance. The explicit vs. implicit nature of the conveyed meaning is the key to the explanation of pragmatic misunderstanding. This argument is based on some assumptions supported by Relevance Theory, namely the ostensive-inferential character of linguistic communication and the difference between explicature and implicature. Some examples of intercultural misunderstanding will be discussed, and some consequences drawn. For instance, one parameter that increases the risk of misunderstanding is the quality of the audience's linguistic knowledge. My hypothesis is that the greater the audience's mastery of the speaker's language, the greater the risk of intercultural misunderstanding. The reason is that speakers tend to attribute to non-native speakers cultural background which is in due proportion to their own mastery of language and therefore do not necessarily imply the right explicature of the utterance. This thesis will constitute the starting point for a useful contribution about what the minimal conditions for successful intercultural communication should be. In conclusion, a sketch of the empirical field for intercultural pragmatics will be given. ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR Copyright of Intercultural Pragmatics is the property of De Gruyter and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder's express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use. This abstract may be abridged. No warranty is given about the accuracy of the copy. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract. (Copyright applies to all Abstracts.)

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