Alicante Journal of English Studies / Revista Alicantina de Estudios Ingleses

Communication in relevance theory

Nathalie Franken


Sperber and Wilson (1995) ground their definition of communication on their criticism of Grice's intentional definition of non-natural meaning. In such a perspective, communication is considered as an act rather than as a process. Sperber and Wilson propose two definitions of this fundamental concept. In a first time, they argue that communication involves two specific intentions; afterwards, they equate it with ostension. This paper examines and criticizes their proposals, confronting them to ordinary intuition. Some crucial issues are discussed: the equivalence of Sperber and Wilson's two definitions, the nature of the evidence used in communication, the intentionality of communication, the content of the communicative intention, the notion of mutual manifestness, and the problem of infinite regress.


Comunicación; Teoría de la relevancia; Actos de habla; Problemática; Conceptos teóricos


Copyright (c) 1998 Nathalie Franken

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