Accentuation and Interpretation by Hans-Christian Schmitz (auth.)

By Hans-Christian Schmitz (auth.)

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The acoustic correlates of stress are limited to one single syllable of the accentuated word (as a rule on the syllable that also carries word stress). Even the precise articulation that accompanies stress appears to affect primarily the stressed syllable rather than the entire word (Greenberg et al. (2001)). How can stress on syllables serve to highlight entire words and improve their intelligibility? Reply: in the case of words that consist of one syllable, syllable stress obviously highlights the entire word.

To derive implicatures in Grice’s examples it is not necessary to assume violations of the conversational maxims; on the contrary, one can presuppose that they are fulfilled. The objection immanent in Grice against the thesis that cooperative information exchange takes place only when the maxims are observed is at least weakened. I suspect that cooperative communication can always be described as being in accordance with the conversational maxims. Furthermore, fulfilment of the maxims appears to guarantee cooperative behaviour: if a speaker always expresses himself as it is required, does not withhold information, never makes superfluous, irrelevant remarks, only says what he can rightly believe to be true, and if each of his utterances is clearly intelligible, then he behaves cooperatively in an exemplary manner.

The test persons appeared to be able to decode (recognise) signals without interpreting them; recognition and interpretation must therefore be modelled distinctly and separately. Secondly: even if one adopts the assumption that recognition can be guided by expectation and may in first instance be a discrimination task, one can still consider the distinction between recognition and interpretation useful. (a) A recipient can recognise and interpret a signal even when he has no expectations about it.

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