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Relevance Theory

Relevance theory is a psychological model of pragmatic processing. In this theory, relevance is a basic psychological phenomenon involved in all aspects of cognition that arises from the fact that humans have choices about which environmental cues to attend to. The claim is that people are driven to attend to what is most relevant in each situation. In language, relevance is used as a guiding principle for understanding how people express and recognize meaning. This model explains how an individual hearing a message (the hearer) can infer the full meaning intended by the speaker of the message (the speaker) by using all the evidence available to them and by selecting the most relevant information. The available evidence includes the information from the language, context, and ...

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