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The Targeting System of Language$
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Leonard Talmy

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780262036979

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262036979.001.0001

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Hearer-Focus Cues to a Target

Hearer-Focus Cues to a Target

(p.393) 8 Hearer-Focus Cues to a Target
The Targeting System of Language

Leonard Talmy

The MIT Press

A hearer-focus cue is a cue metacognitively available to a hearer indicating that her own current object of attention may be the speaker’s intended target. In the sequence leading to its use, the hearer first observably directs her attention to some phenomenon. This is her focusing behavior. The speaker then observes this behavior, determines the phenomenon she is focusing on, proceeds to perceive that phenomenon himself, and produces an utterance with a trigger to target it. On hearing the trigger, the hearer is alerted to look for cues to its target. She ends up accepting the possibility that her own focus of attention is the speaker’s intended target, especially if other cue categories are poorly represented. Parameters along which this procedure can vary include the sensory modality of the phenomenon that the hearer is focusing on; the hearer’s reason for focusing on it; whether the hearer does or does not anticipate the phenomenon

Keywords:   hearer-focus cues, focusing behaviour, object of attention, metacognition, sensory modality

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