Arenas of Language Use
When we think of the ways we use language, we think of face-to-face conversations, telephone conversations, reading and writing, and even talking to oneself. These are arenas of language use—theaters of action in which people do things with language. But what exactly are they doing with language? What are their goals and intentions? By what processes do they achieve these goals? In these twelve essays, Herbert H. Clark and his colleagues discuss the collective nature of language—the ways in which people coordinate with each other to determine the meaning of what they say.
According to Clark, in order for one person to understand another, there must be a "common ground" of knowledge between them. He shows how people infer this "common ground" from their past conversations, their immediate surroundings, and their shared cultural background. Clark also discusses the means by which speakers design their utterances for particular audiences and coordinate their use of language with other participants in a language arena. He argues that language use in conversation is a collaborative process, where speaker and listener work together to establish that the listener understands the speaker's meaning. Since people often use words to mean something quite different from the dictionary definitions of those words, Clark offers a realistic perspective on how speakers and listeners coordinate on the meanings of words.
This collection presents outstanding examples of Clark's pioneering work on the pragmatics of language use and it will interest psychologists, linguists, computer scientists, and philosophers.
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Common Ground and Language Use
Definite Reference and Mutual Knowledge
2 Context for Comprehension
Common Ground and the Understanding of Demonstrative Reference
Discourse as a Collaborative Process
Referring as a Collaborative Process
Contributing to Discourse
acceptance phase addressees Alan and Barbara anaphora Ann and Bob Ann knows Ann's argued assertion assume assumptions believe Bob knows candle Chapter Charles choice Clark collaborative common ground community membership concealment condition Consider context contextual expressions contribution conventional conversation definite reference deixis demonstrative reference Desdemona director and matcher discourse evidence example Experiment figure goals Harry Wilson hearers Herb Caen heuristics Iago identify indirect illocutionary acts infer initial intended interpretation Jesse Owens language lexical rules lexicon linguistic copresence listeners means meant Monkey Business mutual belief mutual knowledge mutually know Napoleon nonce sense noun phrase object Okay Oscar Othello overhearers pair partners person physical copresence picture possible presentation principle question reason recognize repair request salient Schegloff Schelling sentence side participants speaker speech acts talk Tangram task teapot theories things tion Trial understand understood utterance verb phrases vocative words