Journal of Interactional Research in Communication Disorders, Vol 6, No 1 (2015)

Collaborative meaning-making in delusional talk as a search for mutual manifestness: A Relevance Theory approach

Caroline Jagoe
Issued Date: 30 Jan 2015


Delusional talk may pose predictable challenges to the hearer in identifying what the speaker intended to communicate, particularly if the speaker presumes the hearer to have access to assumptions based on delusional content. This paper explores delusional talk between participants with schizophrenia and an interlocutor, analysing how meaning is negotiated through achieving access to assumptions that are not initially manifest to the conversation partner. A Relevance Theory approach is taken to the analysis of the data revealing two strategies used by the interlocutor to negotiate meaning. The Relevance Theory notion of mutual manifestness emerges as a powerful explanatory factor. The pursuit of mutual manifestness and a mutual cognitive environment explains the interlocutor’s meaning negotiation attempts, allowing the communicators to ‘align’ and engage in conversation. The interlocutor is also exposed as seeking to exit the delusional talk by moving towards topics which are based on assumptions which are clearly mutually manifest.

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DOI: 10.1558/jircd.v6i1.53


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