Volume 28, Issue 2
  • ISSN 0929-0907
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9943
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In line with recent interest in weak and often not fully determinate effects of communication permeating relevance-theoretic research, I contribute a discussion on two possible sources of speaker-intended indeterminacy within explicit import of an utterance: one residing in an intentionally underspecified location of an ad hoc concept between literal or non-literal (e.g. metaphorical or hyperbolic) interpretation, and the other lying in the higher-level explicature of an utterance, and being related to propositional attitude (e.g. pretence, reporting, dissociation) or speech-act description (e.g. complementing, reproaching). In both cases, the speaker leaves a certain amount of indeterminacy concerning the degree of her commitment to the content communicated, by not indicating where precisely the concept or the attitude is to be located on the literalness-metaphor continuum or on the continuum of various propositional attitudes/speech-act descriptions, respectively. Using a number of illustrative examples drawn from television discourse, I try to show that this kind of intended indeterminacy gives rise to communicative effects of a non-propositional kind. Additionally, the analyses presented here support the deflationary view of figurative uses of language, on which they form continua with non-figurative utterances.


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