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Expectations of relevance and truthfulness - partners in conversations between aided and naturally speaking communicators

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Expectations of relevance and truthfulness - partners in conversations between aided and naturally speaking communicators
AIM: Relevance Theory is a cognitive pragmatic theory that aims to explain how communicators bridge the gap between sentence meaning and speaker meaning. This study applies a Relevance Theory lens to interaction data involving aided communication, to identify features naturally speaking participants attend to, to guide their inferences as they engage in co-construction of meaning.
METHOD: The present study is part of an international study investigating communicative problem-solving in aided and naturally speaking communicators. The design of this part is a case study. The interaction context was a task where the aided communicator viewed visual scenes on drawings and events in videos, and was asked to describe those scenes and events to a familiar communication partner. The conversations were recorded on video, transcribed and analyzed, searching for features of selective inference and interpretation processes of naturally speaking partners, as well as evidence of assumptions and expectations that they applied when co-constructing and interpreting aided messages.
RESULTS: The study illustrates some of the expectations and assumptions naturally speaking communication partners may apply in aided conversations. Analysis suggests that communication partners make significant assumptions that go beyond what is actually ‘said’. Expectations of relevance and truthfulness offer an explanation for selections and interpretations speaking partners are either intentionally or unwittingly making.

Author(s):

Kirsi Neuvonen    
University of Helsinki
Finland

Kaisa Launonen    
University of Helsinki
Finland

Martine Smith    
Trinity College Dublin, the University of Dublin
Ireland

Stephen von Tetzchner    
University of Oslo
Norway

 

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