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Title: The myth of explicit communication : a view from the representational hypothesis
Author: Elsheikh, Enas
ISNI:       0000 0004 2719 2559
Awarding Body: University of Newcastle Upon Tyne
Current Institution: University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Date of Award: 2011
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The thesis is a critique of what in most linguistic and pragmatic theories is treated as "explicit" (as against "implicit") communication. The critique is from the perspective of Burton- Robert's Representational Hypothesis. A central assumption in linguistic and pragmatic theories is that there is a distinction between explicit communication, on one hand, and implicit communication, on the other. Two conflicting theories of the explicit-implicit distinction are discussed and found inadequate. These are Grice's theory of conversation and Sperber and Wilson's Relevance Theory. It is argued that neither Grice nor Relevance Theory succeeds in showing that an explicit-implicit distinction is empirically defensible or theoretically sustainable. In addressing the issue of explicit communication the thesis raises questions about the theoretical significance - and indeed the conceptual validity - of an explicit-implicit distinction. It is argued that the very notion of explicit communication rests on (suspect if not incorrect) conventional assumptions inherited from generative linguistic theory, particularly Chomskyan linguistic theory. To be precise, the notion of the explicit is bound up with Chomsky's double-interface assumption - a foundational assumption in conventional linguistic theory. This is the assumption that there are phonological features and semantic features combined in lexical items and more complex linguistic expressions. The assumption is supposed to be conceptually necessary for conceiving of and modelling what in linguistic theory is called 'sound-meaning' relations. It is argued that the double-interface assumption is deeply problematic and should be rejected. The Representational Hypothesis is presented as a counter-point to the supposed necessity of the double-interface assumption in conceiving of and modelling so-called' sound-meaning' relations. An account of meaning, which follows from the Representational Hypothesis, is defended. By way of illustration, the thesis then draws together a range of issues, problems, questions arising from the supposed necessity of the double-interface assumption. These are approached through the problems of nonsentential speech and ellipsis. The supposed necessity of the double-interface assumption is questioned and the RH is presented as an alternative.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available