An Introduction to Linguistics by Stuart C. Poole (auth.)

By Stuart C. Poole (auth.)

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John Lyons, for example, maintains that there is no evidence to suggest that concepts are relevant to the construction of a theory of semantics (Lyons, 1992, p. 137). Indeed, seemingly in contravention of their belief in the intermediary of mental perception, Ogden and Richards (1985, p. 60) went on to question the role of mental images: There are good reasons why attempts to build a theory of interpretation upon images must be hazardous. One of these is the grave doubt whether in some minds they ever occur or ever have occurred.

We are more at ease when a conversation flows smoothly. We are less at ease if there are pauses in the conversation or if, conversely, two people are speaking at the same time (overlap). We dislike people interrupting, beginning to speak at an inappropriate point. Discourse analysis investigates the mechanisms that facilitate smooth flow in conversations. One topic of study, for example, has been turn-taking, how the 'floor' passes from one person to another with a minimum of disruption. One technique for handing over the floor is the use of tag questions: It's going to be very difficult, isn't it?

If so, making the offer entails a number of what may be called implicatures or presuppositions. She is implying that she is able and willing to drive the man home, that the car is nearby, that it is not broken down, that she has time to go by way of his place, and so on. The woman might, of course, be letting others know that she does not need a lift or even gloating about the fact that she is in a better situation than the man. But we tend to assume that other people are being helpful. As Paul Grice puts it, a co-operative principle tends to apply.

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