Kate Beeching (University of the West of England, Bristol)
And your point is…? Subtext and a corpus approach to interactional pragmatics
The notion of ‘subtext’ is generally applied to creative works such as books or films where some part of the content is not expressed explicitly but is, rather, implicit and understood by the reader or observer using extralinguistic and contextual clues.
In linguistic pragmatics, Austin’s notion of illocution describes a similar type of everyday interactional behaviour in which there is a dislocation between the literal interpretation of words and what is understood by them. Indeed, Kempson (2001, 414) goes so far as to say that “all word meaning is but a set of procedures… [which] suggests that any word is but the input to the construction of some novel “ad hoc” concept specific to that utterance”.
To take a corpus approach to interactional pragmatics might seem paradoxical: corpora are generally reckoned to be most useful for lexicographic or large-scale quantitative exploits, not for detailed qualitative contextual analysis.
This paper explores the usefulness of spoken corpora in the analysis of meaning in interactional pragmatics and refers specifically to both translation corpora and to the tool-assisted analysis employed with the CLAPI data-base (Bert et al., 2008).