By Hans-Christian Schmitz

Hans-Christian Schmitz argues speaker has to utter a sentence in a fashion that makes the hearer understand no less than these phrases which are enough for figuring out the full sentence. In spoken language the speaker has to intensify those phrases. Semantics results of accentuation seem as epi-phenomena in their pragmatic functionality. the writer defines a proper version for the translation of incompletely well-known sentences and derives a context-sensitive rule of accentuation. the rule of thumb of accentuation is experimentally evaluated.

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Extra resources for Accentuation and Active Interpretation (Palgrave Studies in Pragmatics, Languages and Cognition)

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4 Again the implicature results from the presupposition that the maxims are observed. 4. Suppose that a speaker has attended a performance of Miss X; it may be assumed that he can describe the performance precisely. Now, the speaker does not say that Miss X has sung Home Sweet Home; rather, he declares that she produces a series of acoustic events that are reminiscent of this song. If Miss X’s rendition can justly be described as singing, the speaker should describe it as such if he is to fulfil the conversational maxims.

This can be explained if it is assumed that a recipient has certain expectations about the signal to be decoded. The more possible decodings he can exclude in advance, and the fewer the number of decodings that he has to decide between, the easier it is for him to recognise the signal. In the simplest task (cipher recognition), he has to decide between only ten different ciphers; in the most difficult task (recognition of meaningless syllable sequences) he cannot distinguish between predictable words, and must instead recognise the signal in its entirety.

Monosyllabic words form a large part of the actively used vocabulary. Even if only about a fourth of all English words are monosyllabic, according to Greenberg (1996) more than 85 per cent of the words used in speech communication consist of only one syllable. Furthermore, recognising the syllable that is known to carry word stress also facilitates the recognition of multisyllabic words. When the stressed syllable of a multi-syllabic word is recognised correctly, all expectable words whose stressed syllable differs from the recognised syllable can be excluded.

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