On the Interpretive Approach to Dialogue Analysis

Valerij Dem'jankov

This page copyright © 2004 V.Dem'jankov.


( .) – Valerij Dem'jankov.

On the Interpretive Approach to Dialogue Analysis // IADA 2004 Chicago "Theoretical Approaches to Dialogue Analysis". March 30 – April 3, 2004. Chicago: Northeastern Illinois University, 2004. P.15.


The paper deals with the approach which takes for granted that meanings are not contained in the signs but are rather computed by interpreters. Human interaction is looked at as a result of certain strategies of language production and interpretation, and not of extracting meanings from the words. In the framework of the modern linguistic theories realizing this approach (such as conversational analysis, certain versions of speech act theory and of discourse analysis) scholars investigate semantic, syntactic, and pragmatic features of language use.

Human societies use different sets of interpretive strategies characterizing interpretive styles and interpretive cultures. Since inter-cultural interactions are possible, too, linguists and anthropologists suppose that there is a universal core of human interpretive strategies (e.g. some of the Gricean maxims) and a set of variable culture-specific parameters. Different interpretive cultures presuppose different mastery of discovering primary and secondary intentions of the speakers. That is, the principle Rely on your real andór potential interpreter has different range of application in human societies. This is why human cultures have different standards of explicitness of turn-taking in dialogues and of the speech proper.

I am going to propose a taxonomy of dialogic explicitness techniques varying from culture to culture, demonstrating differences between modern West-European and Russian interpretive standards.