Intention(ality) and the conceptualization of communication in pragmatics
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It is commonly assumed in (linguistic) pragmatics that communication involves speakers expressing their intentions through verbal and nonverbal means, and recipients recognizing or attributing those attentions to speakers. Upon closer examination of various pragmatic phenomena in discourse, however, it appears the situation is actually much more complex than the standard conceptualization of communication in pragmatics allows. In particular, it is suggested in this paper that the focus on expressing and recognizing/attributing (speaker) intentions underestimates the dynamic nature and complexity of cognition that underpins interaction. The notion of 'dyadic cognizing' is thus introduced as a way of reconceptualizing the inferential work that underlies communication. It is suggested that such inferential work is 'directed' and thus is inherently 'intentional' in the sense proposed by Brentano, but need not necessarily be 'directed' towards the 'intentions' of speakers.
Australian Journal of Linguistics
Copyright 2009 Routledge. This is the author-manuscript version of the paper. Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal link for access to the definitive, published version.