The place near the thing where we went that time: an inferential approach to pragmatic stylistics

Clark, Billy (2009) The place near the thing where we went that time: an inferential approach to pragmatic stylistics. Topics in Linguistics, 3 . pp. 4-11. ISSN 1337-7590 [Article]

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This paper considers the exploration of inferential processes involved in interpreting texts as one way of applying ideas from pragmatics within the field of stylistics. There are a number of questions to ask in accounting for specific inferences. Exploring them leads to insights about individual texts, individual inferences and the nature of literary and non-literary interpretation. A number of these questions are briefly considered here. Is the inference derived before, during or after the initial interpretation of the text? What part or parts of the text provide evidence to support the inference (how ‘local’ or ‘global’ is the evidence)? How much support for the inference is provided by the text? How determinate/vague is the inference? Is the inferential process open-ended or is there a fairly clear conclusion to the process? How salient are the inferential processes? How likely is it that interpreters will revisit or continue to think about the inference after the initial interpretation process? Understanding particular inferences, and exploring these questions about them, can help us to understand how a text gives rise to specific effects. In some cases, inferential processes themselves constitute effects of a text. Studying inferential processes is one way in which (pragmatic) stylistics can engage with other areas of literary study, shedding light on questions about literary interpretation, literary criticism and literary value.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > School of Media and Performing Arts > Media > English Language and Literature
Item ID: 6270
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Depositing User: Billy Clark
Date Deposited: 12 Jul 2010 08:34
Last Modified: 30 Nov 2022 01:31

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