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Verbal Communication by Louis de Saussure, Andrea Rocci

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Nicholas Allott

24Misunderstandings in verbal communication93

Abstract: There is no dominant theory of misunderstanding, perhaps because causes of breakdown in communication are too disparate. Moreover, there are sharp theoretical and methodological differences between research traditions. Work in cognitive pragmatics, drawing on philosophy of language, has shown that a) the linguistic material uttered serves as a clue to what is communicated, and does not determine it; b) what is communicated can be broken down into several components, including the proposition expressed, implicatures and illocutionary force. It follows that communication is inherently risky, and that there are many ways to misunderstand. Work with a more sociological orientation ...

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