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Series:

Claudia Caffi

This fourth volume in the Studies in Pragmatics (SIP) series is a fittingly solid, well-illustrated and theoretical account of Mitigation (as a form of Politeness). The main goal of this book is to present a new integrated pragmatic approach to communication. The approach has been called pragmatics of identity. It's major feature is that it aims at integrating pragmatic views (research on politeness, face-work, etc.) with insights from different research fields into an extended framework where psychological aspects of communication in context also can be taken into account.

Series:

Eniko Nemeth and Károly Bibok

Recently, the investigation of word meaning in utterances has connected two different fields: lexical semantics and pragmatics. A new linguistic discipline, namely lexical pragmatics, is emerging. The eleven papers of the present book constitute a unit in the sense that they have a common aim: to explore the interaction between lexical semantics and pragmatics. The authors examine phenomena such as productive sense extension, regular polysemy, multifunctionality, implicit arguments and predicates, and non-typical anaphoric pronouns, on the basis of linguistic data, for instance, from English, Norwegian, Russian, and Hungarian, as well as using a great variety of frameworks (optimality framework, two-level semantics, the theory of generative lexicon, cognitive grammar, Gricean theory, and relevance theory.

Series:

Edited by Luuk Van Waes, Egbert Woudstra and Paul van den Hoven

In this volume researchers from American and European universities and institutes present their recent research on 'Functional Communication Quality'.
Functional refers to the purposes of the communication process. The relations between these purposes and the best way to describe them, are some of the topics discussed.
Communication refers to a complex interactive process. Relevant variables include the speech act of the participants, features of the message, chosen channel, moment, duration, frequency, environment. The participants in this process are individuals and groups as well as organizations and parts of organizations.
Quality can be described from several points of view: a technical point of view with efficiency as its goal, an operative point of view which aims for effectiveness or an aesthetic point of view.
This volume shows that a multi-perspective approach to Functional Communication Quality (FCQ) is the only way to obtain a better insight into this area of communication studies. The papers are grouped in four different chapters, each dealing with a different perspective on the theme:
• FCQ in an organizational context;
• FCQ and research methods;
• FCQ and text analysis;
• FCQ and electronic tools.
The book also contains an overview of organizational communication research in France and Spain.
This volume will be of interest to a broad audience of researchers and students in the field of organizational communication studies and the field of writing studies, communication consultants and communication managers, professional writers and software engineers.

Series:

Edited by Tim Stowell and Eric Wehrli

Syntax and the Lexicon is a dynamic investigation into the role of the lexicon in syntactic theory. Twelve chapters, authored by leaders in syntactic theory, provide a detailed yet easily understandable analysis of differing views on the lexicon in the field. Lively debates pepper the volume with interactive dialogue, and volume editors Tim Stowell and Eric Wehrli provide an insightful overview and introduction to lexical theory. It presents an overview of the role of the lexicon in syntactic theory and debates between major practitioners in the field. It discusses the nature of argument and structure and debates the relation of argument nature to constituent structure and binding theory. It examines the role of NP-movement vs. lexical rules in accounting for alternations in grammatical functions.

Series:

Edited by Otilia Martí-Arnándiz and Patricia Salazar-Campillo

Little exposure and few opportunities for practice are two main drawbacks for learners in instructional contexts. These problems are intensified when dealing with face-threatening acts such as refusals, as learners are not fully capable of expressing their meanings and miscommunication is a likely by-product. The present volume aims at exploring factors and production of refusals in different instructional settings by means of ten original papers which address key questions dealing with the speech act of refusals. The relevance of the volume lies in the individual contributions which embrace innovative perspectives on refusals in order to provide an excellent contribution to this field of enquiry. The book is an obligatory reading for researchers and students interested in the field of interlanguage pragmatics, who will benefit from the range of educational contexts in which refusals are investigated.

Series:

Thanh Nyan

From a Darwinian perspective, language is rooted in our neurobiology, and the process whereby interpretation is reached – in the case of argumentative sequences – is not dissimilar to that underlying action selection in response to environmental change: indeed, it arguably involves the same type of decision-making (Damasio 1994). Context construction, as construed by Nyan, corresponds to the preliminary stage of decision-making, when the changed environment needs to be categorised. What discourse markers contribute to context construction is an upgraded level of automation, whereby the degree of variation assumed to be present in the interlocutor’s processing context can be brought within a manageable range. How discourse markers influence interpretation is construed in terms of Damasio’s (2010) convergence-and-divergence zone framework.

Series:

Katarzyna Jaszczolt

This book is about beliefs, language, communication and cognition. It deals with the fundamental issue of the interpretation of the speaker's utterance expressing a belief and reporting on beliefs of other people in the form of oratio obliqua. The main aim of the book is to present a new account of the problem of interpreting utterances expressing beliefs and belief reports in terms of an approach called Default Semantics.

Reader feedback in text design

Validity of the plus-minus method for the pretesting of public information brochures

Series:

Menno de Jong

Brochures play a significant role in governmental public information provision. Every year many brochures are distributed to inform, instruct or persuade people. These brochures may benefit from a systematic design process, including applied research such as pretesting. Among communication professionals, the importance of pretesting is practically undisputed. Readers from the target audience are assumed to provide valuable insights into whether a document really works. Organizations therefore increasingly try to include a pretest in the design process of important documents. Various pretest methods have been developed and are being used in practice. However, little is known yet about the merits and restrictions of the available approaches. This book provides a framework for scholarly research into pretesting, and presents a series of studies into the validity of one particular pretest instrument: a combination of the plus-minus method and a semi-structured questionnaire. This is one of the prevailing pretest approaches in the Dutch public information sector. The validity of the pretest instrument is assessed in two complementary ways. First, the question is addressed as to whether a revision on the basis of pretest results actually leads to an improvement in the functional quality of brochures. Second, a study is presented in which text and subject-matter experts judge the importance of pretest results. The pretest instrument appears to yield a large amount and a great variety of reader feedback, which in a subsequent revision may contribute to significant improvements in the effectiveness of brochures.

Numerous Meanings

The Meaning of English Cardinals and the Legacy of Paul Grice

Series:

Bert Bultinck

Outlandish as it may seem to the uninitiated, the meaning of English cardinal numbers has been the object of many heated and fascinating debates. Notwithstanding the numerous important objections that have been formulated in the last three decades, the (neo-)Gricean, scalar account is still the standard semantic description of numerals.
In this book, Bultinck writes the history of this implicature-driven approach and demonstrates that it suffers from methodological insecurity and postulates highly non-conventional meanings of numerals as their "literal meaning", while it confuses the level of lexical semantics with that of utterances and cannot deal with a large number of counter-examples. Relying on the results of an extensive corpus-based analysis, an alternative account of the meaning of English cardinals and the ways in which their interpretation is influenced by other linguistic elements is presented. As such, this analysis constitutes a prism that offers todays linguist an iridescent history of one of the most fascinating, if often misconstrued, topics in contemporary meaning research: the conversational implicatures.

Series:

Javier Gutiérrez-Rexach

An area of linguistic research can be considered mature when the validity of theoretical and empirical results is tested cross-linguistically and when predictions from different languages influence and modify the course of theoretical development. The semantics/pragmatics interface poses a special challenge in this respect because of its interdisciplinary and multi-theoretical nature. This volume attempts to bridge the gap between theory and empirical analysis by focussing on several aspects of the semantics and the pragmatics of Spanish from a variety of theoretical points of view. Some of the papers were selected from those presented at the International Conference "Semantics and Pragmatics of Spanish" (Ohio State University, 1999). Others are invited contributions from leading scholars in the field. Among the topics covered are several that have been the subject of intense debate, whereas others represent subtle data patterns not considered so far. The topics include the proper characterization of tense and aspect, the subjunctive, verbal periphrases, stage/individual level predication, the interpretation of infinitives in embedded and adjunct clauses, the subjunctive mood, demonstratives, quantification of excess, exception phrases, binding phenomena, propositional negative polarity items, particles of politeness, and pronominal doubling. Overall, the analysis of these subjects contributes new findings to prominent theories in the field, such as possible world semantics, relevance theory, mental spaces, type coercion, generalized quantifier theory, dynamic semantics, and the theory of logical form.