UCL Working Papers in Linguistics 14 (2002)

Beyond communicative intention



While intentions are at the center of communication theories such as Relevance Theory, and also of theories of action in general, the interaction between communicative and non-communicative intentions has not been much investigated within the relevance-theoretic framework.  This paper discusses Bratman’s (1987) Theory of Planning, which recognizes the critical role of intentions in governing our actions, driving our practical reasoning, and enabling us to coordinate with other individuals. I will argue that this theory can shed new light on how a communicator’s non-communicative intentions can shape her utterances and affect her audience’s intentions, how the audience’s intentions may influence the comprehension process, and how audiences may cope with attempts at persuasion by considering the communicator’s non-communicative intentions.

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