When it comes to the communication of affect, there is an assumption that the non-verbal dimension of human communication is at least as important as the verbal one, if not more so. This observation, however, has been of virtually no concern to linguists. The non-verbal contributions to linguistic communication were left behind by the so-called ‘cognitive revolution’ of the 60s and 70s (Hecht and Ambady 1999) as generative linguists abstracted away from paralinguistic phenomena in order to focus on the linguistic code. Some functionalist linguists, discourse analysts and sociologists continued to address aspects of non-verbal communicative behaviour (see, for example, Bolinger 1983; Goodwin 1981; Brown and Yule 1981; Garfinkel 1967; Goffmann 1964; Gumperz 1971; Hymes 1972; Schiffrin 1994), but distinctions that are important from a pragmatic view have been left relatively unexplored. The question of how that 93 per cent of behaviours might interact with the seven per cent is largely ignored. Those of us who work in pragmatics can afford ourselves no such luxury. Firstly, the aim of a pragmatic theory is to explain how utterances are understood, and utterances, of course, have both linguistic and non-linguistic properties. Secondly, the emotional dimension to speaker meaning is at least as important, often more important, than those dimensions that tend to receive more attention. Any pragmatic theory worth its salt simply must have a view on non-verbal communicative behaviours and how they contribute to speakers’ meanings.
|Title of host publication||The Routledge Handbook of Pragmatics|
|Editors||A. Barron, G. Steen, G. Yueguo|
|Place of Publication||London|
|Number of pages||7|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Sep 2016|
|Name||Routledge Handbooks in Applied Linguistics|
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- School of Humanities and Social Science - Principal Lecturer