An Analysis #160;of#160;the Function#160;of#160;Context#160;in#160;the Inference of Conversational Implicature毕业论文_英语毕业论文

An Analysis #160;of#160;the Function#160;of#160;Context#160;in#160;the Inference of Conversational Implicature毕业论文


摘 要

在我们的日常生活中,人与人之间最常见的交流是口语交际。话语所表达的意义随它的语境的变化而变化。在理解话语的意义时, 我们首先可以考虑使用语言线索和上下文线索。有时我们可以使用语言语境自动填充词或句来理解话语意义。当使用语言语境不能帮助我们理解话语的意义时,我们可以找到另辟途径,从情景语境的角度去理解它。具体来说,我们可以利用时间、地点、场合和彼此之间的关系来理解。同一句话在不同的时间、地点、场合和人际关系中会产生不同的话语意义。此外,社会和文化背景也是我们必须理解和使用的有效方式。社会和文化背景可以分为历史文化背景和社会风俗习惯。只有理解这些语境因素,我们才能理解他人的话语意义。因此,语境的存在对人们对话语意义的理解有很大的影响, 这也是一个值得不断探讨和研究的问题。



  1. Introduction 1
  2. Demonstration 1
    1. The concepts of context and utterance meaning 1
    2. Classification of contexts 2
    3. The usage of context in conversational utterance meaning 3
      1. Linguistic context 3
        1. Language clues 3
        2. Contextual clues 4
      2. Situational context 5
        1. Time and Place 5
        2. Occasion 6
        3. Relationship between the speakers 7
      3. Sociocultural context 7
        1. Historical and cultural background 8
        2. Social customs and habits 8
  3. Conclusion 9

Works cited 12

Bibliography 12

Analysis of the Function of Context in the Inference of Utterance



In our daily life, people usually communicate with others through conversations. If the hearer can exactly understand the meaning of what the speaker utters, it will be a successful conversation. The meaning of an utterance is the realization of the abstract meaning of a sentence in a real situation of communication, or simply in a context. So the communicative function of language can only be successfully completed in appropriate contexts. Besides, the accurate understanding of utterance meaning should be given primary importance and is also the final purpose. During our nonverbal communication, we should not only try to understand the utterance meaning through the words themselves but also try to understand the potential meaning by using contexts. In Grice’s cooperative principle, when people converse with each other, they must first of all be willing to cooperate. Otherwise, it would not be possible for them to carry on the talk. It is interesting and important to note that while conversation participants nearly always observe the CP, they do not always observe these maxims strictly. These maxims can be violated due to various reasons. So the conversational implicature is usually the meaning that we cannot directly understand. And we need to use different contexts to understand the speaker’s implied meaning. In a word, context has great importance to the accurate understanding of the utterance meaning. So I think this is a topic which is deserved to be discussed and studied, and in this article I will expound the function of context in the reference of utterance meaning.


The concepts of context and utterance meaning

The context refers to the speech environment in which people use natural languages to start a complete conversation. This definition emphasizes that people use

natural language to communicate with others, and the process of the communication must rely on speech environment. Context consists of a series of subjective factors which is closely related to language communication. In these factors, some are linguistic and others are nonlinguistic. They exist in our verbal expression behavior, and have great importance in helping us exactly understand speech acts.

The study of utterance meaning is not to understand the literal meaning itself, but to study the real meaning of sentences on the basis of the context, and to explain the implication of the utterance. The meaning that people express usually contains the following two situations, direct meaning and implied meaning. It is easy to understand the direct meaning because the speaker expresses his meaning by using the most common sentences. The more we should care and study is implied meaning. People usually have some difficulty in telling their innermost thoughts and feelings, so they may use implication to achieve some goals, such as rejection. Therefore, we should try to understand their implied meaning and in this way we won’t offend them.

    1. Classification of contexts

Context can be divided into two parts: one is linguistic context and the other is non-linguistic context. The linguistic context refers to the language clues and contextual clues for the communication. Language clues must be based on the fact that the speaker and listener both use the same language and have enough understanding of the language they use, because only in this way can they understand the other’s words and give back a good reply. During our daily communication, the listener should also try to understand the utterance meaning the speaker wants to express by using the linguistic context of what went on before, and in this way there will not be an irrelevant answer or misunderstanding. Non-linguistic context can be divided into situational context and social cultural context. Situational context refers to the social environment in which people live and the objective environment for the speaker to use the language and the listener to understand the language. It includes time, place, occasion, and relationship between the communicators. Social cultural context refers to the cultural background related to verbal communication. It consists

of cultural differences from different nations and edification of historical culture. These different contexts require us to completely understand the background of these contexts. Actually, the utterance meaning has certain dependence on all these contexts.

    1. The functions of context in the inference of utterance meaning

Linguistic context

Communication is based on the mutual understanding between the two communicators. First of all, the communicators need to have adequate knowledge of the language they use, namely, the most essential is to use the same language to set up a conversation environment. In addition, the communicators must know the content going on before the communication, that is to say, they must know enough about what is mentioned before. Only in this way, the linguistic can work out.

Language clues

Once the word is separated from the context, its meaning will be uncertain and ambiguity will easily arise. In many different languages, of course including Chinese and English, there exists a phenomenon called polysemy. Under normal conditions, the meanings of the same words in different contexts are often different. When we can’t exactly understand the exact meaning, we need to use the context to understand the meaning of the word in such a sentence, and we need to fill in the vacancy of conceptual reasoning while we are listening to others if we want to exactly understand the speaker. Let’s prove this with two examples.

In China, people often say the following sentences: one sentence is “你等我一

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