Alicante Journal of English Studies / Revista Alicantina de Estudios Ingleses

On the phatic interpretation of utterances: a complementary relevance-theoretic proposal

Manuel Padilla Cruz



In this paper, I suggest a theoretical approach to the production and interpretation of phatic utterances aimed at complementing other previous accounts. These argue that utterances are normally interpreted as phatic either because of their occurrence in particular conversational phases forming fixed adjacency pairs with other utterances, or because interlocutors activate specific frames and process them in a particular way. Besides, the extant relevance theoretic (Sperber and Wilson, 1986, 1995) analysis of these utterances has focused on the linguistic properties that make utterances be interpreted as phatic, but has not explained how a speaker has to produce an utterance so that the hearer interprets it as phatic and why phatic utterances contribute to the creation of a feeling of solidarity and ties of union between interlocutors.


Teoría de la relevancia; Función fática; Lingüística cognitiva


Copyright (c) 2005 Manuel Padilla Cruz

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