Causality and Connectives

From Grice to relevance

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The book explores finely-grained distinctions in causal meaning, mostly from a relevance-theoretic perspective. To increase the challenge of this double task, i.e. a thorough as well as satisfactory account of cause and a detailed assessment of the theoretical model employed to this end, the current study involves an investigation carried out by way of contrasting the prototypical causal exponents of Modern Greek subordination, i.e. <i>epei&#948;i</i> and <i>&#947;iati</i>. In addition, this objective is achieved in the methodological framework of contrasting a range of contextual applications of the two connectives against their translated versions in English, realizable by means of <i>because</i>. Despite first impressions, a closer observation of the wide range of applications of these markers in the discourse of coherence relations illustrates divergences in their distribution, which, in turn, are taken to highlight differing aspects of causal interpretation. The proposal for the relevance-theoretic model emanates from a reaction to an array of problems undermining traditional tenets of pragmatic theory originating with Grice’s stance, but is also made in response to the common practice in pragmatic research (since its origin) to pay low regard for the contribution of typical causal markers to debates aiming at the determination of the distinction that has been instrumental to issues of cognition and pragmatic interpretation, i.e. propositional vs. non-propositional meaning.

Subjects: Pragmatics; Semantics

  • Affiliations: 1: Aristotle University of Thessaloniki

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