Natural pragmatics and natural codes

Mind and Language 18 (5):447–477 (2003)
Abstract
Grice (1957) drew a distinction between natural(N) and non–natural(NN) meaning, and showed how the latter might be characterised in terms of intentions and the recognition of intentions. Focussing on the role of natural signs and natural behaviours in communication, this paper makes two main points. First, verbal communication often involves a mixture of natural and non–natural meaning and there is a continuum of cases between showing and meaningNN. This suggests that pragmatics is best seen as a theory of intentional verbal communication rather than a theory of meaningNN. Second, some natural behaviours have a signalling function: they are, in effect, natural codes. Such behaviours do not fit easily into Grice's distinction between natural and non–natural meaning, which suggests it is not exhaustive.
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