Conversational Relevance in Market Setting

Topics: Pragmatics, Implicature, Gricean maxims Pages: 54 (19072 words) Published: February 26, 2013
Chapter 1

Pragmatics is the study of meaning recognition expressed either in oral or in written forms, which deals with the use of social context and the ways people produce and comprehend meanings through language (Mey, 2011). Language as a tool to express or convey meaning is widely used in communication. Conversely, communication, as it uses language, functions for many different purposes and one of which is persuasion. Persuasion is an act of convincing or persuading other people to accept one’s own beliefs or opinions. According to Bettinghaus (1994), persuasion through transmitting messages attempts to change the attitude, beliefs or behavior of an individual or group of individuals. Persuasion as it tries to convince and to alter the attitude of a person or group of persons is commonly practiced in a social context called market (Wanke & Reutner, 2009). Market persuasion involves a persuasion situation in which an agent (speaker) attempts to persuade another agent (listener) to take an action (Glazer & Rubinstein, 2006). Putting this concept in market setting, the speaker or persuader might be the seller as he sells his product and tries to persuade his buyers to buy and to patronize his products or he might be the buyer as he tries to convince the seller to sell his product in much lower price than its actual or usual price, as that of the case of bargaining. A persuader (seller or buyer) delivers his proposition (persuasive statement) either overtly manifested (explicit) or covertly manifested (implicit) in many different forms as that of statement, request or command, or in a form of a question. Such proposition expressed overtly or covertly must create a relevance to the expected information of the persuadee in order to achieve an efficient persuasive communication between the two participants. This is supported by Dan Sperber and Deirdre Wilson as they put it “communication information comes with a guarantee of relevance” (Wanke & Reutner, 2009). According to Grice (1975, in Wanke & Reutner, 2009) in cooperative principle of relevance, recipients in a communication may expect that the information that is presented is relevant to the accepted purpose of the communication. Applied to persuasion, this would suggest that the persuadee may expect that any information presented by the persuader is relevant to the persuader’s goal and potentially supports the desired conclusion (Wanke & Reutner, 2009). This paved way to the role of conversational relevance on persuasion put in the context of market. The underpinning principle of relevance deals with how humans pay attention only to relevant information addressed by the speaker which creates an expectation of relevance on the part of the listener. Also, the theory posits that the search for relevance is a basic feature of human cognition, which communicators may exploit (Wanke & Reutner, 2009). As mentioned above, market is one of the contexts in which persuasion exists. This paper focuses in market as a social context where persuasion situation happens between sellers and buyers of across ages and gender and on how these interlocutors are engaged on such persuasive communication in which conversational relevance plays a vital role. Thus, this paper attempts to study the contribution of the Relevance Theory in the analysis of the propositional content of different propositions delivered through market persuasion in the form of oral communication which only few studies have taken into account. Statement of the Problem

In market persuasion, the actual mode of a persuasive communication is clearly described in the persuasion situation in which the speaker (seller or buyer) discloses relevant information, overtly or covertly to persuade the listener (seller or buyer) in purchasing his or her product as in the case of selling (seller to buyer) or purchasing the product in much lower price as in the...

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