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ERIC Number: ED165485
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1978
Reference Count: 0
On the Role of Conversational Implication in Proverb Comprehension.
The experiments described in this paper compare inference-based and expectancy-based models of the comprehension of indirect, non-literal expressions. The inference-based model claims that the comprehension of non-literal meanings requires more and deeper processing than the comprehension of literal meanings. The expectancy-based model rests on the presupposition that the speaker will respect Grician principles of conversation and will supply any information the hearer needs to know. The inference-based model discounts the relevance of this information in the inference process. The three experiments examined comprehension latencies for unfamiliar proverbs used both literally and figuratively after paragraphs of two lengths. In all three experiments, figurative uses of the proverbs were understood more rapidly than literal uses, and proverbs following long paragraphs were understood more rapidly than proverbs following short paragraphs. The data supported the hypothesis that comprehension is a unitary process concerned with determining what the other speaker means, and that ease of understanding is proportionate to the amount of shared information and presuppositions. Novel, non-literal uses of language are not intrinsically more difficult to understand than literal uses. (Author/AMH)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Mental Health (DHEW), Bethesda, MD.
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Conversation; Grice (H P); Implication
Note: Paper presented at the Interdisciplinary Conference on Linguistics (4th, Louisville, Kentucky, April 1978) ; Best copy available