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Communication as commitment sharing: speech acts, implicatures, common ground

Bart Geurts
From the journal Theoretical Linguistics

Abstract

The main tenet of this paper is that human communication is first and foremost a matter of negotiating commitments, rather than one of conveying intentions, beliefs, and other mental states. Every speech act causes the speaker to become committed to the hearer to act on a propositional content. Hence, commitments are relations between speakers, hearers, and propositions. Their purpose is to enable speakers and hearers to coordinate their actions: communication is coordinated action for action coordination. To illustrate the potential of the approach, commitment-based analyses are offered for a representative sample of speech act types, conversational implicatures, as well as for common ground.

Acknowledgements

I’ve had a lot of help with this one. Thanks to Philippe De Brabanter, Vitaliy Dolgorukov, Hans-Martin Gärtner, Mark Jary, Mikhail Kissine, John Michael, Tim Reuten, Marat Shardimgaliev, Mandy Simons, Martina Valković, Till Vierkant, Huub Vromen, and an anonymous reviewer for Theoretical linguistics. Research for this paper was supported by the Russian Academic Excellence Project 5-100.

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Published Online: 2019-06-21
Published in Print: 2019-06-26

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