Browsing English language learning and assessment by Subjects
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Believing in: a pragmatic accountThe gap between the linguistic meaning of an utterance and the proposition it expresses in a particular context is bridged by a pragmatic inferential process with free access to general world knowledge. Therefore, pragmatic theory should be able to characterize the inputs to this inference process in a way which provides the basis for explaining why a particular linguistic expression has some contextual interpretations to the exclusion of others. The main aim of this paper is to consider how Relevance Theory (Sperber and Wilson, 1986/1995) rises to this challenge in one particular case: utterances of sentences containing the phrase believe in. I try to show how the various interpretations of this expression follow from the interaction of its linguistic meaning with the Communicative Principle of Relevance, the context, and two general cognitive tendencies in context selection: the orientation towards positive outcomes and the orientation towards establishing cause-effect relations.
Communication and core conditions in rapport building: a case studyThe main aim of this article is to show how difficulties in communication across cultural boundaries can be addressed effectively by taking account of the complex interplay between individual, culture-specific and universal aspects of social interaction. The article considers an unconventional, creative and effective approach to dealing with a critical incident situation that arose in an intercultural efl classroom. The description and analysis of the problem situation draw on Carl Rogers' (see Kirschenbaum and Henderson, 1989) core conditions for facilitative educational practice and the key concepts of Relevance-Theoretic pragmatics (Sperber and Wilson, 1986, 1995), showing how the mechanisms of communication can be used in building positive rapport between the interactants as whole integrated individuals.
Conceptualizing mindfulness-mindlessness in intercultural interactionThe concept of 'mindfulness' is increasingly used in the intercultural literature and yet so far it is largely just a heterogeneous construct with underspecified theoretical content. In this paper we draw on multidisciplinary perspectives to address this shortcoming and develop an integrated analysis of this important construct. We relate 'mindfulness' explicitly to the Relevance-theoretic concept of “manifestness”, and we incorporate insights from the psychology of motivation. We use extracts of authentic intercultural interactions to help explain and illustrate our arguments.