International Review of Pragmatics 2 (2010) 3–20 © Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2010 DOI 10.1163/187731010X494708 brill.nl/irp Infant Communication: A Problem for Relevance Th eory? Jonas Pﬁ ster University of Bern, Switzerland pﬁ email@example.com Abstract In this article I clarify an argument by Richard Breheny against Relevance Th eory based on a problem posed by infant communication. I present Sperber and Wilson’s solution and argue that Breheny’s objection to it does not hold. I argue that Breheny’s alternative notion of communication does not meet the requirement of the overtness of communication. If one drops this requirement, then the way is open for a theoretically simpler notion of com- munication. Keywords Relevance Th eory , infant communication , joint attention 1. Introduction Infant communication seems to pose a problem for contemporary accounts of linguistic communication such as Dan Sperber and Deirdre Wilson’s Relevance Th eory. Richard Breheny ( 2006 : 74) writes: Prominent accounts of language use and human communication face some- thing of a dilemma. Th e dilemma arises because it is assumed (a) that basic communicative situations essentially involve propositional attitude-like states of the participating agents and (b) that competent language users have the conceptual abilities to represent
International Review of Pragmatics – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2010
Keywords: JOINT ATTENTION; RELEVANCE THEORY; INFANT COMMUNICATION
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