Late twentieth-century discussion of the nature of communicative intention was dominated by the theories of British philosopher Herbert Paul Grice. Grice initially (1957) argued that the primary intended effect of an indicative utterance was to get the hearer to believe the proposition expressed; an essential component of this communicative intention was the intention to have this effect be achieved through the hearer's recognition of that intention. He eventually acknowledged that there were counterexamples to this analysis and subsequently (1968; 1969, 171-2) proposed that the primary communicative intention must be that the hearer should at least come to believe that the utterer has some particular thought or belief. Grice also allowed that speakers need not intend to change the attitudes of some specific, actual audience; instead, this part of the communicative intention concerns what is meant to happen should there be an audience having such-and-such characteristics.
Contribution to Book
Communicative intentionThe Cambridge encyclopedia of the language sciences
Document TypeEncyclopedia entry
PublisherCambridge University Press
Publisher StatementCopyright © 2011 Cambridge University Press
Additional InformationISBN of the source publication: 9780521866897
Citation InformationLivingston, P. (2011). Communicative intention. In P. C. Hogan (Ed.), The Cambridge encyclopedia of the language sciences (pp. 182-183). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.