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Extra resources for English Collocations in Use
It is within these limits that the idea of literal meaning can be considered as the wrong way of expressing a correct insight. 2 The message has an autonomous content: The non-literal interpretation He had spoken the very truth, and transformed it into the veriest falsehood (Hawthorne) Our experience as language users makes us familiar with a rich typology of con¶icts between the meaning of an expression and contextual data, which push the quest for coherence away from the meaning of the expression towards a non-literal option.
42 On the other hand, if a speaker is ready to entrust his messages to any kind of indirect expression requiring non-literal interpretation and inferencing, it is on the basis of a symmetric assumption about the interpreter. g. giving and receiving information, in¶uencing and being in¶uenced by others) must be expected to have an interest, given suitable circumstances, in participation to talk exchanges that will be proªtable only on the assumption that they are conducted in general accordance with the CP and the maxims” (49).
The relevant boundary of semantic description is internal to internal inferencing, and coincides with the borderline between systematic inferencing, based on long-lasting conceptual structures, and occasional inferencing, based on contingent contextual data. One side of this critical boundary is occupied by a semantic description of sentence meaning, based both on linguistic coding and systematic internal inferencing. The other side of the boundary, which coincides with the realm of pragmatics, does not form a coherent territory, but is occupied by a continuum ranging from the contextual determination of utterance meaning by contingent inferencing to the inferential development of contingent messages out of meaningful expressions.