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date: 22 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This paper outlines the main assumptions of relevance theory (while attempting to clear up some common objections and misconceptions) and points out some new directions for research. After discussing the nature of relevance and its role in communication and cognition, it assesses two alternative ways of drawing the explicit–implicit distinction, compares relevance theory’s approach to lexical pragmatics with those of Grice and neo-Griceans, and discusses the rationale for relevance theory’s conceptual–procedural distinction, reassessing the notion of procedural meaning in the light of recent research. It ends by looking briefly at the relation between the capacity to understand a communicator’s meaning, on the one hand, and the capacity to assess her reliability and the reliability of the communicated content, on the other, and considers how these two capacities might interact.

Keywords: relevance, communication, explicatures, lexical pragmatics, procedural meaning

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