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Relevance theory, epistemic vigilance and pragmatic competence

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Abstract

The study evaluates pragmatic competence in an academic context under different conditions of treatment. Control and experimental groups are used to assess the effects of intervention and language proficiency on developing pragmatic competence. Using the relevance-theoretic framework (Sperber and Wilson 1986/1995), it will be argued that EFL learners rely on relevance-theoretic mechanisms for comprehension and search for relevance, and on epistemic vigilance for acceptance of communicated information. Editorials are used as test-beds for examining how epistemic vigilance may be exercised against the risk run by humans to be ‘accidentally or intentionally misinformed’ (Sperber et al. 2010; Wilson 2010). It is concluded that epistemic vigilance is a key mechanism to developing pragmatic competence in L2.

References

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