The expression of certainty and its perlocutionary effect

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If one takes the view that utterance meaning is the product of interactional processes, then intended perlocutionary effects should be receiving more attention: indeed, their occurrence (or non-occurrence, for that matter) has a direct influence on the circumstances which determine the range of possible language choices for both speaker and hearer. Building on this assumption, this article is concerned with the process whereby the communication of certainty can lead to the intended perlocutionary effect. Using Damasio’s convergence-divergence zone framework, which presupposes an adaptive perspective, I argue that such effects are more likely to come about if certainty is communicated without evidential markers, than when such marking is employed. The presumed effectiveness of this mode of communication would be due to the automatic nature of the mechanism involved, which mechanism relies on an interpretive process that may be seen as a simulation of recall.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)547-567
Number of pages20
JournalIntercultural Pragmatics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2015


  • certainty, perlocutionary effect, evidential markers, utterance meaning, interpretive process, as-if body loop


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