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Inference about inference: pragmatics and stylistic analysis

Synopsis TBA

All stylisticians make inferences. All audiences make inferences. But not all
work in stylistics makes explicit reference to inferential processes. This
paper considers whether it is important for stylistic analyses to include an
explicit discussion of the inferential processes involved in interpreting a
text. The claim is that an account of inferential processes is essential in
principle even if particular analyses do not provide one in practice.

This view is illustrated by a discussion of Halliday’s (1971) analysis of
Golding’s ‘The Inheritors’ from the point of view of Relevance Theory. It is
suggested that an account of the inferential processes involved here would have
been another way of ‘getting off the Fish hook’ (Toolan 1990); in this case,
Fish’s (1973) concern that Halliday’s analysis involves ‘sleight of hand’ would
be addressed by explicating the connection between linguistic features and
interpretations. The aim is to demonstrate both what is added by an account of
inferential processes and also what has to be assumed as implicitly given in
understanding Halliday’s analysis.


Dr. Billy Clark | talks | www


Date and Time:

22 February 2007 at 5:00 pm


1 hour 30 minutes



Room GR 06-07, English Faculty Building
9 West Road

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Organised by:

Cambridge University Linguistic Society, University of Cambridge
See other talks organised by Cambridge University Linguistic Society, University of Cambridge...



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This is a members-only event

Membership is £6 a year or £5 for students. You can send your subscriptions to the Treasurer (cbl23@cam.ac.uk), or pay at one of the meetings.

Additional Information:

Cambridge University Linguistic Society aims to bring together people with an interest in language. We meet three times a term on average, attracting speakers from a variety of departments and institutions both inside and outside Cambridge. The meetings are held on Thursday afternoons in the Faculty of English, 9 West Road. Tea and biscuits are served from 4.30pm and the paper begins at 5pm. The talks last about an hour with time afterwards for questions from the audience. The Society's officers then take the speaker out for dinner at a nearby restaurant, along with any members of the audience who wish to join us. These dinners are very popular and offer the opportunity to talk to the speaker and other members of the society in an informal atmosphere. Membership is £6 a year (or £5 for students). This money goes towards paying speakers' travel costs and accommodation. You can send your subscriptions to the Treasurer, or pay at one of the meetings.

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