Uncertainty as integrated part of meaning and understanding

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In this chapter, we discuss the issue of uncertainty in language and communication. The starting point for the discussion is Weigand’s (2010) Mixed Game Model, a theory of dialogic language use. Feller’s (2010) meaning-in-use, which conceptualizes meaning construction as a dialogic process, puts the focus on meaning and understanding in dialog. Against this theoretical background, we discuss the roles of uncertainty in dialog, especially in the context of speaker interests, cross-cultural communication, and inner dialog. We will therefore look into the different knowledge types that are integrated in language use and which are used by the dialog partners to construct meaning and interpret utterances. The main argument is that these knowledge types are veined with blind spots for the dialog partners, which they fill in with their expectations along measures of probability. Uncertainty is thus an integrated part of dialogic language use.


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