An application of relevance theory to the analysis of L2 interpretation processes: The comprehension of indirect replies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study applied relevance theory to second language research by analyzing L2 learners' inferential ability in comprehending conversational implica-tures. Eight Japanese students of English in two proficiency levels took a listening test consisting of 22 short dialogues. In the experimental dialogues, the speaker's reply which appeared at the end violated Grice's (1975) relevance maxim and did not provide a direct response to the question. An introspective verbal interview was conducted after each item to allow the researcher to interrogate learners' thought processes and to identify specific strategies used during comprehension. The results showed that, regardless of proficiency differences, learners were able to seek relevance of the speaker's implied meaning based on context. Paralinguistic cues and the rule of adjacency pair were common inferencing strategies. Less proficient learners relied more on background knowledge and key word inferencing. Proficient learners identified more frequently the speaker's intended purpose of using an implicature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)151-176
Number of pages26
JournalIRAL - International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching
Volume40
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 4 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'An application of relevance theory to the analysis of L2 interpretation processes: The comprehension of indirect replies'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this