Plenary Lecture 1: “The interplay of recipient design and salience in shaping speaker meaning”

May 2nd, 2014, 09:30 – 10:15

The presentation argues that speaker utterance is not just recipient design. While fitting words into actual situational contexts speakers are driven not only by the intent that the hearer recognize what is meant as intended by the speaker (social), but also by individual salience that affects production subconsciously (egocentrism). The interplay of these social and individual factors shapes speaker meaning. The effect of individual salience (which is usually uncontrolled) may result in uttering semantic units that make their own context, and occasionally cause misunderstandings.

At the same time the two aspects of speaker meaning (individual and conversational) give the chance to the speaker to manipulate speaker meaning according to his/her needs: leave meaning conversationally open for interpretation or signal his/her intention with cues and markers. It will be argued and demonstrated that speaker meaning can usually be underdetermined from the speaker’s perspective only if the speaker leaves it underdetermined deliberately.

Istvan Kecskes, Universität Albany

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Biography of Istvan Kecskes

Istvan Kecskes is Professor of Linguistics and Communication at the State University of New York, Albany, USA where he teaches graduate courses in pragmatics, second language acquisition and bilingualism. He is the President of the American Pragmatics Association (AMPRA). His latest book “Intercultural Pragmatics” was published by Oxford University Press in 2013. He also edited two book in 2013: “Research Trends in Intercultural Pragmatics. Berlin/Boston: De Gruyter Mouton.” (with Jesus Romero-Trillo) and “Research in Chinese as a Second Language: the Acquisition of Language and Culture”. Berlin/Boston: De Gruyter Mouton.

Professor Kecskes is the founding editor of the linguistics journal Intercultural Pragmatics and the Mouton Series in Pragmatics published by Mouton de Gruyter: Berlin/New York, as well as the new bilingual (Chinese-English) journal CASLAR (Chinese as a Second Language Research) published by Mouton and the “Journal of Language Aggression and Conflict” published by John Benjamins: Amsterdam/Philadelphia.