Cognitive instruments of investigating communicative failures
The present paper examines the causes of communicative failures on the basis of the methodological assumption of cognitive linguists that a language unit used by the speaker in a communicative act is associated with a body of conceptual content which gives access to conceptual network of encyclopaedic knowledge and provides raw material for contextualized interpretation. The analysis reveals that communicative failures take place when: 1) the speaker’s verbal utterance does not evoke any conceptual content in the mind of the interpreter as a result of a) losing its symbolic function due to the speaker’s violation of lingual norms (lingual causes) or b) being out of the interpreter’s focus of attention (extra-lingual causes); 2) the communicants privilege different aspects of the encyclopaedic knowledge evoked by the verbal or non-verbal utterance in some discourse context due to the difference of experience shaped by the communities of practice they are part of (lingua-cognitive causes).
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