We are happy to remind you of the Schultink lecture that will be given by Herbert Clark on Wednesday January 20 from 7pm till 8.30pm in room 10A-04. Abstract of the lecture:
Rational ways of using language - Herbert H. Clark, Stanford University
Everyday language is far from the ideal that is modelled in traditional theories of grammar, pragmatics, and communication. In conversation, speakers decide what to say in collaboration with their partners; they change course as they speak, often mid-sentence; and when they misjudge what their partners know, they deal with the consequences. As a result, they deviate from the ideal: they pause, add uh and um, prolong words, repeat words, redo phrases, and abandon phrases, all in great numbers. By traditional theories, these deviations are irrational. But are they? In those theories, language users are assumed to have omniscient rationality, with unlimited knowledge and processing capacities. But if, instead, they are assumed to have bounded rationality, with limited knowledge and limited processing capacity, many of these deviations are fully rational and, indeed, necessary for optimal communication.