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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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Epistemic Cues to a Target

Epistemic Cues to a Target

(p.431) 10 Epistemic Cues to a Target
The Targeting System of Language

Leonard Talmy

The MIT Press

An epistemic cue is any information that a hearer derives from her own knowledge that then helps her determine the speaker’s intended target. The term “knowledge” here is meant to apply broadly. It covers both explicit (declarative) and implicit (procedural) knowledge; both “knowledge” and “belief”; both long-held and recently acquired knowledge; both general and local knowledge in the collocutors’ common ground; and both nonlinguistic and linguistic knowledge. Nonlinguistic knowledge is basal knowledge about first-order phenomena. Linguistic knowledge, then, is meta-knowledge about the lexicon and syntax of a language and about the principles of discourse management that the collocutors use to represent the first-order phenomena. Linguistic knowledge about discourse management often involves knowledge of Mithun’s newsworthiness principle and of our counterfactual principle. The use of epistemic cues shows extensive parallelism across the speech-external and speech-internal domains. In both domains, epistemic cues can help a hearer find a target within a higher-level conceptual complex, set a boundary around a locative target, and select the target from competing candidates. And largely the same epistemic cues from both nonlinguistic and linguistic knowledge are used in both domains.

Keywords:   epistemic cue, knowledge and belief, nonlinguistic and linguistic knowledge, basal and meta-knowledge, discourse management, newsworthiness principle, counterfactual principle

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