UCL Working Papers in Linguistics 11 (1999)

The relationship between generative grammar and (relevance-theoretic) pragmatics


The generative grammar approach to language seeks a fully explicit account of the modular system of knowledge (competence) that underlies the human language capacity. Similarly, the relevance-theoretic approach to pragmatics attempts an explicit characterisation of the subpersonal systems involved in utterance interpretation. As an on-line performance system, however, it is subject to certain additional constraints; this is demonstrated by the way in which matters of computational (processing effort) economy are currently employed in the two types of theory. A sub-module of 'discourse competence' is shown to be compatible with and complementary to the wider system of pragmatic processes.

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