VI. Intentionality and acceptability
1. The cohesion of surface texts and the underlying coherence of textual worlds are the most obvious standards of textuality. They indicate how the component elements of the text fit together and make sense. Even so, they cannot provide absolute borderlines between texts and non-texts in real communication. People can and do use texts which, for various motives, do not seem fully cohesive and coherent. We should therefore include the attitudes of text users among the standards of textuality. A language configuration must be intended to be a text and accepted as such in order to be utilized in communicative interaction.1 These attitudes involve some tolerance toward disturbances of cohesion or coherence, as long as the purposeful nature of the communication is upheld (cf. I.13f). The production and reception of texts function as discourse actions relevant to some plan or goal (cf. VI.11).
2. In I.13, we introduced the notion of intentionality to subsume the intentions of text producers. In the most immediate sense of the term, the producer intends the language configuration under production to be a cohesive and coherent text. Some situations may place such limits on time and processing resources that this intention is not fully realized by the presentation. For example, cohesion is lacking on occasion in conversation (documented in Coulthard 1977: 53, 108, 89, 88-g):
 But that was then you went to Fred’s.
 Do you—what are you laughing at?
 You want to hear my—eh—my sister told me a story last night.
 When I say I want to be something, it’s not just that I want to be this, it’s just I—I—I just that’s the only thing I tell people that I want to be an artist.
The inconsistent surface structures above (whose use would be called “anacoluthon” in classical rhetoric) signal the influence of such situational factors as the following. In , the speaker shifts the plan for the utterance in trying to reconstruct a still unclear event. In , the speaker abandons an utterance just begun and reacts to a disturbance from another participant. In , the speaker originally intends to offer ‘my sister’s story’ and then decides that the ‘story’ should first be introduced as a recent and presumably newsworthy event. In , the text producer apparently feels some hesitation in expressing his true desires for a career. Such discontinuities and shifts are usually tolerated when they do not disturb communication, especially if their causes are readily apparent.
3. The same point can be made regarding reduced coherence. Text producers may become confused and inconsistent if the situation is in some way disorienting:
 “Well, sir, “ said the constable, “he’s the man we were in search of, that’s true; and yet he’s not the man we were in search of. For the man we were in search of was not the man we wanted, sir, if you understand my everyday way.” (Hardy 1977: 30)
This illogical series of assertions arose from a case of mistaken identity. On occasion, a text producer may deliberately impair coherence for special effect. When Sherlock Holmes is pretending to be deliriously ill, his plan calls for deceiving Watson by appearing incoherent:
 You will convey the very impression which is in your own mind a dying man a dying and delirious man. Indeed, I cannot think why the whole bed of the ocean is not one solid mass of oysters, so prolific the creatures seem. Ah, I am wandering! (Conan Doyle 1967: 444)
Of course, Holmes is careful to maintain the intended topic in spite of the picturesque ramblings about ‘oysters’, so that the superior goal of his long-range plan is upheld. This kind of intentionality attaining goals through deception is not widely dealt with in philosophical discussions.
4. The interdependence of cohesion and coherence with intentionality can lead to complicated situations. For example, text producers may wish to conceal some knowledge and, along the way, they may betray themselves with disturbances of coherence:
 “I see that the big one was the deaf and dumb Spaniard ... and the Spaniard swore he’d spoil her looks just as I told you and your two “ “What? The deaf and dumb man said all that!” Huck had made another terrible mistake! (Twain 1922: 242f.)
This kind of situation should be distinguished from the kind where coherence is intended but not accepted, because the knowledge and roles of participants are too diverse. Mark Twain (1913: 45ff ) provides an extreme illustration where a miner-gambler is negotiating with a clergyman:2
 “Are you the duck that runs the gospel-mill next door?”
“Am I the pardon me, I believe I do not understand?”
“You are the head clerk of the doxology works next door.”
“I am the shepherd in charge of the flock whose fold is next door.”
“The spiritual advisor of the little company whose sanctuary adjoins these premises.”
Scotty scratched his head, reflected a moment, and then said: “You ruther hold over me, pard. I reckon I can’t call that hand. Ante and pass the buck.”
“How? I beg pardon. What did I understand you to say?”
Each uttered text is intended to be coherent by itself, but the discourse is non-communicative much of the time and neither participant can discover the coherence of the other’s texts.
5. Twain’s discourses here are of course playful exaggerations, and we must bear in mind that they form part of larger texts whose coherence is beyond dispute. Still, they illustrate typical regulatory actions that follow upon breaks in coherence as a continuity of sense (cf. III.14). In , the other participant uses a high-key recurrence combined with pro-forms to call attention to the disturbance (cf. IV.58). In , both participants signal lack of comprehension (the miner’s signals being themselves obscurely expressed in gambling terminology), while the original question remains unanswered. In Chapter IX, we describe some types of situation monitoring where texts themselves are monitored for various motives (cf. IX.15ff.). In the wider perspective of intertextuality developed in that chapter, we would grant that cohesion and coherence of a single text may be derivative from that of another text in the same discourse. Hence, cases like  and  can be eventually resolved in the framework of the entire discourses in which they are located.
6. In a wider sense of the term, intentionality designates all the ways in which text producers utilize texts to pursue and fulfil their intentions. An extensive body of research has been devoted to intentions in various disciplines, e.g. sociology (cf. Heider 1958), psychology (cf. C. Schmidt 1976; Schiesinger 1977), philosophy (cf. Austin 1962; Searle 1969), and artificial intelligence (cf. Bruce 1975, 1977; Schank & Abelson 1977; Cohen 1978; McCalla 1978; Allen 1979). The function of texts is seen somewhat differently in these several fields. Sociologists would explore the use of texts in “speech exchange systems” where participants interact and allot speaking turns (Sacks, Schegloff & Jefferson 1974). Psychologists would emphasize the text producer’s intention “to guide the consciousness of the hearer” (Jörg & Hormann 1978: 447; cf. Hörmann 1976). Philosophers have argued that a text producer who “means something” by a text “intends the utterance” of the text “to produce some effect in an audience by means of the recognition of this intention” (Grice 1971: 58). Artificial intelligence researchers are concerned with people’s plans and goals in order “to better analyse the meanings of words whose subtlety lies in their intentions rather than in their physical manifestations” (Schank & Abelson 1977: 129).
7. Linguistics has been most profoundly affected by the philosophical approach, labouring over the question of how intentions are in fact correlated with the format and sense of utterances. Searle (1969: 43 ff.) proposes that Grice’s account of intention and meaning be amended3 because it fails to respect the significant influence of conventions and intended effects. Searic builds upon Austin’s (1962) work to develop the notion of “speech acts”, i.e. actions which the utterance of a text intentionally or conventionally performs. He distinguishes: (a) utterance acts as the simple uttering of words or sentences; (b) prepositional acts as the use of content and reference; (c) illocutionary acts as conventional activities accomplished by discourse, e.g. promising, threatening, etc.; and (d) perlocutionary acts as the achieving of effects on text receivers, e.g. alarming or convincing them (Searle 1969:23ff.). He undertakes to state the conventions which apply to the illocutionary acts. For example, promising entails stating your future action which the text receiver desires and which you would not do otherwise in the normal course of things; to be “sincere”, you must really intend to do the action and to place yourself under the obligation to do it (Searle 1969: 57ff.)
8. Though speech-act theory has made impressive contributions to the study of pragmatics in the sense of III.1, it has some inherent limitations. There is a vast difference between relatively well-defined acts such as “promising” or “threatening” and extremely diffuse acts such as “stating”, “asserting”, “describing”, or “questioning”; yet all of these are grouped together as “illocutionary acts” (Searle 1969: 23). There is no obvious way to set down the conditions and intentions which must be given in order to “state” or “describe” according to criteria as exact as those provided for the action of “promising”. If someone says:
 I promise.
 I apologize.
the action is transparent enough, because the uttering is itself the action. The verbs for such actions are often called performatives, and their use is common in legal and parliamentary transactions:
 I hereby adjourn the meeting.
 I now pronounce you man and wife.
Everyday communication is far more diversified and far less transparent. Many commonplace intentions are hardly ever made explicit. People are not likely to say things of this kind:
 I hereby try to get you to comply with my plan.
 I hereby try to persuade you to adopt the viewpoint most useful to me.
Yet these are some of the most frequent intentions of discourse participants. Speech act theory is therefore rather incomplete in its usual framework, and it fails to appreciate the interaction of conventions with current context (Cohen 1978: 26).
9. A more general approach has been worked out by Paul Grice (1975, 1978).4 He offers a set of “maxims” that the producers of texts normally follow in conversation. The “maxims” are merely strategies and precepts, not “rules” as envisioned by Searle. We illustrate below the maxims as quoted from Grice (1975: 45ff ).
9.1 The principle of co-operation is stated as “make your conversational contribution such as is required, at the state at which it occurs, by the accepted purpose or direction of the talk exchange in which you are engaged”. Co-operadon would be clearly demanded in situations where someone is in need of advice or assistance. The following dialogue shows violations of the maxim (Carrofl 1960: 80f.):
 “How am I to get in?” she repeated aloud. “I shall sit here, “ the Footman remarked, “till to-morrow or the next day, maybe. “ “How am I to get in?” asked Alice again in a louder tone. “Are you to get in at all?” said the Footman. “That’s the first question, you know ... I shall sit here, “ he said, “on and off, for days and days.” “But what am I to do?” said Alice. “Anything you like, “ said the Footman, and began whistling.
Here, Ahce’s intentions are blocked by the Footman’s refusal to accept her plan of ‘getting in’; instead he muses over his own rather goalless plans.
9.2 The maxim of quantity is given as “Make your contribution as informative as (but not more informative than) is required.” Being “informative” would, we presume, involve giving someone new or unpredictable knowledge when occasion arises. In the following excerpt from a play (Shaffer 1976: 2if.), Alan refuses to be informative, first relying on silence and then singing a commercial to Dysart, a psychiatrist:
 Dysart: So: did you have a good journey? I hope they gave you lunch at least. Not that there’s much to choose between a British Rail meal and one here. [Alan stands staring at him.] Won’t you sit down? [Pause. He does not. And you’re seventeen. Is that right? Seventeen? ... Well?
Alan [singing low]: Double your pleasure, double your fun with Doublemint, Doublemint, Doublemint Gum.
Such discourse is naturally effective as a representation of communicating with a mentally disturbed participant.
9.3 The maxim of quality is concerned with truthfulness: “Do not say what you believe to be false, or that for which you lack adequate evidence.” This standard is more rigorously applied to sdentific texts (cf. IX.10) than to conversation, but even in the latter, it is generally regarded as a social obligation. Disregard for truthfulness may be motivated by the intention of concealing one’s own actions, as is often Tom Sawyer’s situation:
 “What were you doing in there?” “Nothing.” “Nothing! Look at your hands. And look at your mouth! What is that truck?” “I don’t know, aunt.” “Well, I know. It’s jam that’s what it is. Forty times I’ve said if you didn’t let that jam alone I’d skin you.” (Twain 1922: 2)
9.4 The maxim of relation is simply “be relevant”. Relevance could have at least two aspects: (a) what kinds of knowledge are related to a given topic; or (b) what kinds of knowledge would be useful in attaining some goal. In Alice’s dialogue with the Footman , both aspects are violated by the latter’s utterances. In Holmes’s speech to Watson , the remarks on ‘oysters’ are irrelevant to the topic about which Watson is being instructed, but highly relevant to Holmes’s goal of appearing delirious. Still another case would be intentional irrelevance to divert a discourse in an unplanned direction, as in this exchange overheard on the University of Florida campus:
 bible evangelist: it’s a fearful thing to meet with God the King!
student: Like when Godzilla meets King Kong?
The student seized upon surface similarities of unrelated expressions to steer the discourse toward an old movie recounting the battle of two popular imaginary monsters.5 The student perhaps considered the evangelist’s remark, shouted in a park to nobody in particular, a violation of relevance in itself. Discourse participants do after all have a right to relevance, e.g. as an aid in reducing possible misunderstandings and non-determinacies. Tom Magner (personal communication to W.D.) adduces a passage from a letter received by the public health officials in Pittsburgh:
 I cannot collect my sick pay. I have six children. Can you tell me why?
The text producer is probably not asking for an explanation of why so many children are in the family, since that question would not be relevant for an inquiry to public health officials (and coming just a wee bit too late anyway).
9.5 The maxim of manner includes several ways to arrange and deliver texts. “Be perspicuous” has been restated as “be such that the intentions you have for what you say are plainly served” (Grice, personal communication to RdB). This restatement looks back to Grice’s original account of intentional meaning (cited in VI.6), adding a stipulation of clarity (cf. II.6). The same objections could be raised again, e.g. that intentions cannot override all convention; and it might be expedient to conceal them (cf. samples , , , , and  above, and  and  below).
9.6 The maxim of manner includes another injunction, namely to “avoid obscurity of expression”. Here, the potential obstacle to communication lies in the phase of mapping already selected and organized content onto surface expression (cf. III.23), rather than in making the selection itself. We noted in example  that the intention to convey knowledge and attain a goal (finding a parson for a funeral) was continually put out of effect by a mutual obscurity of expressions. However, a text producer might have motives for obscurity, such as the attempt to appear learned. Such is the striving of the schoolmaster Holofernes, who describes the speaking style of another person (Don Armado) in that very style (Love’s Labour’s Lost V i 17f.):
 He draweth out the thread of his verbosity finer than the staple of his argument. I abhor such fanatical phantasims, such insociable and point-devise companions; such rackers of orthography.
Another motivation would be the advantages which obscurity can create in preventing a distribution of knowledge. The obscurity of expression in tax laws is apparently a big money saver for governments:
 According to Hubert Möckershoff, president of the Federal Tax Council, the approximately 90 laws and 100 regulations for taxes are often so complicated and incomprehensible that taxpayers certainly cannot recognize all the benefits for which they are eligible. (Neue Wesfälische Zeitung 8 May 1979)
9.7 A third part of the maxim of manner is “avoid ambiguity”. Although many natural language expressions could have different senses under different conditions, ambiguity obtains only when it cannot be decided which sense is actually intended (V.1). If multiple senses are in fact intended, we would use the term “polyvalence” (V.1). While the processing of polyvalence is no doubt arduous, ambiguity has the additional annoyance of expending effort on materials neither intended nor useful. Consequently, participants hasten to eliminate ambiguity by regulative action, usually by paraphrasing the content into a non-ambiguous format. In this exchange between a railway official and a customer (Allen 1979: 3):
 customer: When is the Windsor train?
official: To Windsor?
the customer’s opening question is irresolvably ambiguous, since in this situation, intentions to find out about trains either going to or coming from Windsor would be equally reasonable. The official at once reformulates the troublesome part of the question into a determinate format. Under normal conditions, participants would be motivated to remove occurring ambiguities as efficiently as possible. To insist on ambiguities would be to discourage communication.
9. 8 The fourth part of the maxim of manner is “be brief”. While the maxim of quantity concerns how much you say, brevity concerns how much you take to say it (Grice, personal communication to RdB). Constable Dogberry’s speech quoted in IV.19 demonstrates the violation of brevity: five more restatements of the fact that the prisoners have ‘committed false report’. Not surprisingly, communication breaks down over this violation:
 Pedro: This learned constable is too cunning to be understood. (Much Ado about Nothing V i 234)
All the same, Dogberry was intending to be communicative; he was simply attempting to imitate legal language (cf. IV.19).
9.9 The final part of the maxim of manner is “be orderly”, i.e. “present your materials in the order in which they are required” (Grice, personal communication to RdB). Obvious illustrations would be the normal ordering strategies for mentioning events and situations, e.g. in the time sequence in which things happen (cf. VII.1 8. 2). When test persons were given a passage running:
[108a] The rocket rose faster and faster after starting slowly.
40 per cent recalled the passage in the normal time sequence:
[108b] The rocket rose slowly and then faster and faster.
The favouring of normal ordering strategies seems to reflect the extent to which they make processing and storage easier: the mind does not have to strain itself by searching for an unconventional organizational mode.
9.10 Grice’s concern regarding these maxims is particularly devoted to an account of conversational implicatures, i.e. the knowledge conveyed when people “imply, suggest, mean, etc.” something distinct from what they “say” (Grice 1975: 43). As long as participants are complying with the principle of co-operation and with the maxims of quantity, quality, relation, and manner, one can decide fairly easily what they intend to convey via a given contribution to conversation. When participants “unostentatiously violate” or “blatantly flout” a maxim, or simply “opt out of” it, conversational implicatures are likely to arise especially in the case of “flouting” (Grice 1975: 49). In sample , the uncooperative Footman’s contributions lead Alice to conclude that he is “perfectly idiotic” (Carroll 1960: 82). In , Alan conveys the implicature that he has no intention of giving any insights about himself, not even the most trivial. In , Tom’s utterances imply that he has in fact been doing something forbidden. In , the student is implying that the Evangelist is dealing with ideas as foolish and unsubstantial as sensationalist movie monsters. Grice (1975: 51ff.) provides a range of further examples, but the conclusion should be clear: conversational participants will infer unexpressed content rather than abandon their assumption that discourse is intended to be coherent, informative, relevant, and cooperative.
10. Grice’s maxims undeniably cover a much wider range than the typologies of well-defined “speech acts” from Austin and Searle. By following the maxims, text producers are not committing themselves to performing special actions under conventionally established conditions; they are merely trying to communicate with a minimum of needless effort and disturbances. The application of the maxims would be a case of procedural attachment: the current materials of the discourse would be managed according to general procedures (cf. III.1 g). As we have seen, however, producers’ intentions may lead them to violate the maxims when it seems expedient a factor suggesting that the “sincerity” criteria of speech act theory are not a satisfactory account for discourse actions.
11. There is still an uncharted area between Grice’s “maxims” and Searle’s “speech acts”. Grice suggested that people can pursue unexpressed goals via conversational implicatures, i.e., saying something which implies a belief or request. But this notion is still vague and fails to reflect the full importance of discourse goals. We could explore the correlation of actions with texts in a more direct and operational way. We could begin with von Wright’s (1967) definition of an action as an intentional act which changes a situation in a way that would not have happened otherwise (cf. V.25). The discourse action would then be described in terms of the changes it effects upon the situation and the various states of participants: knowledge state, social state, emotional state, and so on. Among all the changes occurring through a single discourse, the focus of each participant would be on those states which are instrumental to his or her plan toward a goal. Thus, the states would be processed via plan attachment (fitting actions into a planned sequence of states) (cf. III.20; VI.20).
12. In the outworn creed of behaviourism (e.g. Watson 1930), the human organism figures as a mechanism continually “responding” to the “stimuli” of its environment. Theories of language (Skinner 1957) and meaning (Quine 1960) were set forth in these terms. One of the many human capacities ignored or even abrogated by this approach is planning: the ability to envision alternative future states and to work toward a particular desired one.6 Of course, human planners are not all-knowing or all-powerful, and hence one must also notice and react to environmental conditions. Yet even then, the “stimuli” beingencountered are often understood in terms of their implications for one's plans.
13. The human mind is presumably endowed with what might be called a threshold of plan activation. This threshold would be the degree of awareness of possible future states that is required to start developing a plan. When a desired future state appears uncertain enough that its attainment might well fail, the planner has a problem In the sense of III.17. Hence, planning is an elaborated, comprehensive type of problem-solving applied to advancing the planner's own state toward a goal in an evolving situation. The plan might begin at the current state (the moment of making the plan) or at an initial state where the plan will start running later on. As a default, we could assume that the goal state should be desirable from the planner’s standpoint (cf. Beaugrande 1979a, 1980d).
14. The amount and intensity of planning would vary according to several factors: (a) the probability or improbability of attaining the goal; (b) the presence or absence of stabilized social conventions for attaining the goal; (c) the possible interference of counter-planners (other agents whose goals conflict with one's own); and (d) the required range of planning, i.e. short-term vs. long-term (the number of steps needed to carry out the plan). Frequently occurring human problems, e.g. hunger, are handled via conventionalized plans where one needs merely to step into a role (a framework of typical, expected actions and attributes) within a well-defined situation. Schank and Abelson (1977) employ the designation script for these conventionalized plans (cf. V. i6). Their famous “restaurant script” has roles for customer, waiter, cook, and cashier. Anyone able to pay can solve the hunger problem by stepping into the customer role, and no special planning is needed henceforth, beyond such matters as selecting one dish from among alternatives (any meal would satisfy the main goal).
15. Robert Wilensky (1978a, b) points out that the majority of human situations are not well scripted. He suggests rather that people have flexible, powerful strategies for planning and for recovering other people’s plans through their actions. Although Wilensky’s work, like that of Schank and Abelson, is mostly concerned with the reception and processing of texts about actions (i.e. actions in textual worlds), we submit that it can be relevant also for the intentionality of text production. The discourse action, which changes a situation (V1.11), would be plan-directed whenever the text producer is trying to steer the situation toward some goal. The term situation management can designate this activity, while the simple reaction to a situation by describing or narrating the available evidence would be situation monitoring (cf. VIII.1ff. for further discussion).
16. Since discourse is definable as a situation or event sequence in which various participants present texts as discourse actions, we can consider communication through discourse as an instance of interactive planning, (cf. Bruce & Newman 1978). For example, your plan might require inducing beliefs in others such that they will be helpful in bringing about your goal. This plan would be problematic if those beliefs were contrary to available evidence, or not based on evidence at all. We shall look at such a case, namely where Rachael, a spinster aunt, is engaged in discourse with a gentleman she regards as a prospective lover or husband. Her problem is that he might be more drawn to her attractive young nieces if he considered the available evidence. Her solution to this problem is striking (Dickens 1836-37: 54f.):
  “Do you think my nieces pretty?” whispered their affectionate aunt to Mr. Tupman.
 “I should, if their aunt wasn’t here, “ replied the ready Pickwickian, with a passionate glance.
 “Oh, you naughty man! But really, if their complexions were a little little better, don’t you think they would be nice-looking girls—by candle-light?”
 “Yes, I think they would, “ said Mr. Tupman, with an air of indifference.
 “Oh, you quiz—I know what you were going to say.”
 “What?” inquired Mr. Tumpan, who had not precisely made up his mind to say anything at all.
 “You were going to say, that Isabel stoops—I know you were—you men are such observers. Well, so she does; it can’t be denied; and certainly, if there is one thing more than another that makes a girl look ugly, it is stooping. I often tell her, that when she gets a little older, she’ll be quite frightful. Well, you are a quiz!”
 Mr. Tupman had no objection to earning the reputation at so cheap a rate: so he looked very knowing, and smiled mysteriously.
 “What a sarcastic smile, “ said the admiring Rachael: “I declare I’m quite afraid of you.”
“Afraid of me!”
 “Oh, you can’t disguise anything from me I know what that smile means, very well.”
 “What?” said Mr. Tupman, who had not the slightest notion himself.
 “You mean,” said the amiable aunt, sinking her voice still lower “You mean, that you don’t think Isabella’s stooping is as bad as Emily’s boldness. Well, she is bold! You cannot think how wretched it makes me sometimes. I’m sure I cry about it for hours together—my dear brother is so good, and so unsuspicious, that he never sees it; if he did, I’m quite certain it would break his heart. I wish I could think it was only manner—I hope it may be” (here the affectionate relative heaved a deep sigh, and shook her head despondingly.)
17. The first discourse action [109.1] is a simple ask (cf. VIII.10): the aunt seems to be merely inquiring how Mr Tupman is monitoring the situation. Her ‘whispered’ intonation, however, indicates that she is hoping for an answer that the nieces themselves would be dismayed to hear. Mr Tupman’s reply [109.2] shows that he is in principle inclined to be cooperative and support her overall goal of amorous pursuit, but it is disquieting all the same as an admission that he is indeed comparing the nieces to the aunt. He even suggests that there is evidence for ‘thinking’ them ‘pretty’. Alarmed, the aunt at once adduces a piece of unfavourable evidence: poor ‘complexions’ that, even if improved, would still be ‘nice-looking’ only under the attenuating illumination of ‘candles’ [109.3]. Her criticism is disguised as a defence, as an attempt to minimize a defect rather than call attention to it—a case of plan concealment. Mr Tupman’s response [109.4] is again only partially co-operative: he displays ‘indifference’ toward the nieces, but his answer is still an unrestricted ‘yes’. Perhaps Mr Tupman feels committed to the objective evidence in a manner that might warm the otherwise dispassionate heart of a Behaviourist.
18. In VIII.19 we suggest a strategy of discourse action bearing upon how situations are monitored. According to this strategy, if a monitoring is rejected or disapproved of, it could be replaced with a less mediated version, i.e. a version based more directly on the available evidence. But in sample , we have just the reverse: Mr Tupman’s reply [109.4] is not mediated enough, not sufficiently removed from the evidence to suit the aunt. She therefore implements a series of actions designed to replace his unmediated monitorings with versions mediated toward her plan. The first step is to reject [109.4] as not being ‘what he was going to say’; at the same time, she offers a flattering monitoring of his apperceptive and cognitive abilities by calling him a ‘quiz’ [109.5]. In fact, she ascribes to him a planned discourse action which, as [109.6] makes plain, he had no set intention of performing. Since he therefore cannot co-operate to the desired extent, she is now free to supply her own material for the substituted scourse action in [109.7]. The steps in this miniature re-evaluation of evidence are instructive. She at first states the main idea that ‘Isabel stoops’, and immediately goes on to praise Mr Tupman’s powers as an ‘observer’. He must conclude that the proposition is in fact inescapable to anyone weighing the evidence; to reject it would be to deprecate his own alleged perspicacity. The aunt’s next two steps are both reaffirmations (‘so she does’, ‘it can’t be denied’), just in case Mr Tupman has any inclination to disagree. A further step is to elevate this defect to the status of the major factor in ‘making a girl look ugly’. The culmination is to stress that a ‘frightful’ state must ensue with the mere passage of time (‘when she gets little older’—‘little’ to show that it will be soon); this tactic solves the problem that the girl is manifestly not ‘frightful’ at present. The finishing touch is to again flatter Mr Tupman’s perspicacity and thus to ensure co-operation: an instance of recurrence serving to re-assert a viewpoint (cf. IV.13).
19. As expected, Mr Tupman ‘has no objection’ to appearing more astute than he really is [108.8]; yet having nothing to add to the opinion ascribed to him, he can only assume a ‘knowing’ facial expression. The aunt is naturally led by the success of her first planning phase to run the same steps over again and discredit the second niece with the same tactics that worked so well before.7 Again, she seizes upon a slight facial cue (‘smile’) to ascribe a plan-mediated monitoring to Mr Tupman [109.11, 13], though as before, he has no corresponding intentions [109.12]. This time, she dispenses with the flattery of his mental abilities, assuming no doubt that the earlier emphasis on that point will carry over. The step-by-step construction of the discourse action [109.13] is otherwise analogous to that of [109.7]. She begins with the idea of Emily’s ‘boldness’, neatly tying it to the previous material by a disadvantageous comparison to ‘stooping’ (and incidentally, re-asserting the ‘Isabel stoops’ idea yet one more time). Again, she follows up with a re-affirmation (‘she is bold’), pretending to agree with his view. To make this potentially harmless trait seem sufficiently grievous, she monitors her own response to it as well as the response which her ‘brother’ (Emily’s father) would have if he only could ‘see’. Her ‘wretchedness’ (leading to ‘crying’ for ‘hours together’) and his ‘heartbreak’ duly magnify the fault to such dimensions that only a ‘good’ and unsuspicious’ person could possibly overlook it, that is, one unable to see the evil at work. Here, she equates any tendency to monitor the situation in any way but her own with simple blindness (not ‘seeing’) toward reality. She then resumes her apparent action of defending rather than defaming her niece by ‘wishing’ and ‘hoping’ that the fault is merely put on (‘only manner’) rather than deeply rooted. But her use of tenses (‘could think’, ‘may he’) carefully suggests that her ‘hope’ is contrary-to-fact (cf. IV.48). Her ‘sighing’ and ‘head-shaking’ are similarly intended to convey the realness of her reason for being ‘despondent’. Notice that this closing touch simultaneously signals the aunt’s own kindness and concern for others, so that she will not be suspected of the intention to defame.
20. The foregoing sample demonstrates how the aunt manages a situation while pretending only to monitor it (cf. VIII.1). The convincing nature of this fictional discourse is surely due to our ready ability to relate its component texts to plan steps via plan attachment. The presence of some disturbances in coherence, e.g., assigning to a smile a fully elaborated content that could not have been intended, and the aunt's clear violation of the maxim of quality (cf.VI-9.3) do not render the discourse unacceptable, as long as such disturbances and violations are intentional actions toward a goal.
21. In I.15f., we introduced the notion of acceptability as the text receivers' attitude in communication. In the most immediate sense of the term, text receivers must accept a language configuration as a cohesive and coherent text capable of utilization. Like intentionality, acceptability includes a tolerance range for such minor discontinuities or disturbances as illustrated in samples  through  (cf. VI.2ff.), provided that continuity can he restored by reasonable problem-solving (cf. III.14ff.). If we identify acceptability with the text receivers' “ability to extract operating instructions from the utterance” (Jörg & Hörmann 1978: 76), then it must be reasonably evident from the text and its situation of occurrence what those “instructions” are (cf. S. Schmidt 197ib, 1973; Weinrich 1976).
22. The importance of acceptability gradually emerged during research on how to verify a “grammar” as an account of all sentences allowed in a language (cf. II.27). Ostensibly, one should be able to present lists of sentences to informants (native speakers giving views on their language) to be judged either “grammatical” or “ungrammatical”. The “grammar” must then be able to generate the former and exclude the latter. This requirement is vastly more ambitious than any in traditional school grammars, because it must expressly exclude vast numbers of sentences which nobody would “ever be in danger of forming” (Quirk & Svartvik 1966: 9f.).
23. Even in early investigations, uniform judgements about sentences were notoriously hard to obtain (cf. papers in Sebeok (ed.) 1960). More comprehensive and recent research has confirmed that difficulty beyond all dispute (cf. Heringer 1970; Ringen 1975; Greenbaum 1977; Mohan 1977; Snow & Meijer 1977). Lambek (1961: 167) sarcastically pointed out the disparity of attitudes: “At one extreme there are those who call every utterance a sentence, that is, any string of words ever mouthed by poet or peasant. At the other extreme there are those who would declare cannibalism ungrammatical on the grounds that ‘man’ does not belong to the class of food nouns.” Lambek is addressing two opposed outlooks on language study: (a) the insistence on actually occurring grammatical data as all belonging to the language; and (b) the belief that a grammar can specify all possible relationships independently of actual occurrences. To mediate between these opposites, it has become customary to distinguish between grammaticality (what is stipulated by an abstract grammar) and acceptability (what is actually accepted in communication). So far, however, the correlation between these two notions is far from clear. We surmise that the crucial distinction is in fact between virtual systems and actualisation procedures as explained in III.12. As noted already, actualisation can apparently override the organization of virtual systems when appropriate motivation is present—a principle which sets language and communication apart from the objects of study in the natural sciences and mathematics (cf. 0.5).
24. It seems unlikely that theories of language can ignore the correlation between actual occurrences and theoretical models. We shall describe several means for bridging the gulf. One simple and frequent practice has been for linguists to invent and judge their own sentences, i.e., to become the informants themselves (cf. critique in Labov 1972: 199; Ringen 1975; J. Anderson 1976: 69; Schlesinger 1977: 210). yet “it is dangerous”, remarks Sidney Greenbaum (1977: 4), “for a linguist to depend on his own introspection as a means of obtaining data: lengthy exposure to a set of examples is likely to blur his judgements, and his reactions will inevitably he prejudiced by his general theoretical position and by the specific hypotheses that predict acceptability judgements”. Spencer (1973) noticed that linguists often make different judgements of the same data than do non-linguists. Snow and Meijer (1977) suggest indeed that linguists can develop a special, exceptional ability not found in normal language users; their tests showed that linguists agreed with themselves and each other to a much larger degree, and were much more willing to mark sentences ungrammatical on the basis of syntax alone. It has however been our experience that linguists also construct such elaborate examples and counter-examples that they may end up accepting sentences which everyday language users would find highly bizarre.”
25. A second means of correlating acceptability and grammaticality has been pursued especially by William Labov and his associates (see for instance Labov 1969, 1972). He argues that the divergences of usage in various social groups can be accounted for by variable rules rather than strict, infallible ones. Depending upon social factors, text producers would be able to choose among alternative rules or sets of rules. Labov’s approach would introduce diversity into a grammar without weakening the distinction between “grammatical” and “ungrammatical”. Hence, it should still be ‘be possible for language users within a particular group to agree what sentences should or should not be allowed. This agreement is, as we have remarked (V1.23), precisely what is so hard to obtain.
26. A third means appears more promising than the first two, namely, to view the production and reception of texts (or sentences) as probabilistic operations. Grammar would be a set of “fuzzy” instructions in which well-formedness (conformity with the grammar) of sentences would be located somewhere on a graded scale (cf. Lakoff 1973; Mohan 1977). The really decisive consideration is the context where sentences actually occur. Sentences are regularly judged “grammatical” by an informant when it is easy to imagine possible contexts for them (Bolinger 1968; McCawley 1976; Snow & Meijer 1977). In effect, “grammaticality” becomes a partial determiner of acceptability in interaction with other factors. For example, the order in which sentences are presented has been proven to affect people’s judgements (Greenbaum 1973). Sentences are more readily accepted if their expressions elicit mental imagery, presumably because the images assist in devising contexts (cf. Levelt et al. 1977). In connected discourse, sentences can be influenced by the structures of neighbouring sentences (van Dijk 1977c); such is the case with elliptical constructions like  and  in IV.33. Considerations of this kind suggest that the notion of acceptability in the narrow sense is really useful only for texts in situations, not for isolated sentences.
27. The correspondences between intentionality and acceptability are exceedingly intricate. Under stress or time pressure, people often produce utterances which they might feel disinclined to accept under normal circumstances; conversely, they accept utterances from other people which they would be most reluctant to produce (cf. van Dijk 1977c) It has been demonstrated that people may not be aware of their own speaking styles, or those of their social group, and be surprised to hear authentic recordings (Blom & Gumperz 1972: 430). Also, people often go back and “repair” their utterances when deemed unsatisfactory, even though their knowledge of the language has not changed at that moment (cf. Schegloff, Jefferson & Sacks 1977). And people may shift among styles of text production in order to project desired social roles in different settings, because of the social markedness of certain options (cf. Ervin-Tripp 1972; Fishman 1972; Tyler 1972). In view of all these considerations, the conclusion that language can scarcely be described or explained except in terms of texts in real settings again seems inescapable.
28. In a wider sense of the term, “acceptability” would subsume acceptance as the active willingness to participate in a discourse and share a goal. Acceptance is thus an action in its own right (van Dijk 1977c), and entails entering into discourse interaction, with all attendant consequences. Refusing acceptance is conventionally accomplished by explicit signals, e.g.:
 I’m too busy for talking just now.
 I don’t care to talk about it.
Otherwise, participation in discourse would, as a default, be assumed to imply acceptance.
29. The acceptance of other people’s goals may arise from many diverse motivations (cf. Wilensky 1978a, b). We saw in sample  that Mr Tupman was willing to share the aunt’s courtship goal, though he failed to support it as actively as she expected and desired. Successful communication clearly demands the ability to detect or infer other participants’ goals on the basis of what they say (Allen 1979). By the same token, text producers must be able to anticipate the receivers’ responses as supportive of or contrary to a plan, for example, by building an internal model of the receivers and their beliefs and knowledge.’ The following brief dialogue is imagined by Piglet as a means for freeing himself from an unpleasant situation: he believes himself caught in a trap built by a Heffalump’ (a playful distortion of ‘elephant’). Being a very small animal himself, he can only hope to outwit the large Heffalump by monitoring the situation in a way that enable his to manage it.10 He hopes that the Heffalump will accept this reversal if delivered with sufficient self-confidence and offhandedness. In other words, he postulates an ideal and total attitude of acceptance on the Heffalump’s part. Here is the dialogue as planned out by Piglet (Milne 1928: 44f.) (already cited as sample  in 1.1):
  heffalump: (gloatingly): Ho-ho!
 piglet (carelessly): Tra-la-la, tra-la-la.
 heffalump (surprised, and not quite so sure of himself): Ho-ho!
 piglet (more carelessly still): Tiddle-um-tum, tiddle-um-tum.
 heffalump (beginning to say ‘Ho-ho’ and turning it awkwardly into a cough) H’r’m What’s all this?
 piglet (surprised): Hallo! This is a trap I’ve made, and I’m waiting for the Heffalump to fall into it.
 heffalump (greatly disappointed): Oh! (After a long silence): Are you sure?
 piglet: Yes.
 heffalump: Oh! (nervously): I—I thought it was a trap I’d made to catch piglets.
 piglet (surprised): Oh. no!
 heffalump: Oh! (apologetically): I—I must have got it wrong, then.
 piglet: I’m afraid so. (politely): I’m sorry. (He goes on humming.)
 heffalump: Well —Well—I— Well. I suppose I’d better be getting back?
 piglet: (looking up carelessly): Must you? Well, if you see Christopher Robin anywhere, you might tell him I want him.
 heffalump (eager to please): Certainly! Certainly! (He hurries off.)
The Heffalump’s opening ‘ho-ho!’ [5.1] shows elation at attaining the goal of catching someone tasty in his trap. Piglet is therefore motivated to avoid showing any indication of concern or fear which might confirm that monitoring. His humming bits of songs [5.2, 4, 12] also suggests a carefree idleness that befits his own monitoring in [5.61. The Heffalump duly begins to doubt his elation, and instead requests a monitoring from Piglet (‘what’s all this?’) [5.5]. The latter is then privileged to deliver his own oddly mediated monitoring in [5.6]. Due to the strong acceptance attitude ascribed to him, the Heffalump does not protest, but merely asks if the new version is ‘sure’ [5.7] the ‘long silence’ is presumably time spent adjusting his model of the situation. Upon confirmation [5.8], another ‘oh’ signals acquiescence, followed by a modest attempt to restore the original situation with a monitoring in [5.9]. The ‘surprise’ which greets this sally [5.10] underscores its improbability, just as the earlier ‘surprise’ [5.6] was to suggest that the Heffalump had no motive for being there at all. This finishing touch defeats the Heffalump’s version altogether (the final ‘oh!’ marking this last step), leaving him to conclude that he ‘must have got it wrong’ [5.11]. Now Piglet can afford to be reserved—compare ‘I’m afraid so’ [5.12] to ‘Yes’ [5.8] and ‘Oh, no!’ [5.10] and ‘polite’ to the discomfited adversary [5.12]. Note that the insincerity of the apology renders it none the less relevant to Piglet’s plan by suggesting his superior control over the situation (on sincerity, cf. VI.10). The Heffalump’s speech hesitation, signalling his indecision about his role and situation model throughout[ [5.9, 11]11 becomes extreme at this juncture [5.13], until he can think of nothing more but to withdraw from the interaction [5.13]. Still maintaining his ‘carelessness’, Piglet neatly enlists the Heffalump as a co-operative agent toward another, equally important goal: Christopher Robin’s assistance is needed to get Piglet back out of the trap [5.14]. To make things perfect, the Heffalump evidently accepts this role as well and ‘hurries off’ to enact it [5.14]
31. The best-laid plans of Piglets go oft awry. When the time comes, the other participant does not provide the responses needed. In effect, Piglet has relied on running the situation like a script; sudden replanning is hardly feasible. The other speaker (in reality, Christopher Robin, but Piglet can’t see who it is) begins with ‘Ho-ho!’, but follows up Piglet’s ‘Tra-la-la’ with another snatch from a song. The scripted plan is at once set off course:
 “He’s said the wrong thing, “ thought Piglet anxiously, “he ought to have said ‘Ho-ho!’ again.” (Milne 1928:49)
Piglet’s attempts to salvage the plan, e.g. by saying ‘Ho-ho!’ himself, fail to help, so that he is soon ‘Completely Unsettled’ and his texts lose some cohesion and a deal of coherence:
 “This is a trap for Poohs, and I’m waiting to fall in it, ho-ho, what’s all this, and then I say 'ho-ho' again.”
“What?” said Christopher Robin.
“A trap for ho-ho’s, “ said Piglet huskily. “I’ve just made it, and I’m waiting for the ho-ho to come-come. “ (Milne 1928: 49)
These jumbled texts arise from short-circuiting the components of the planned discourse across each other, so that bits of different texts appear together on the surface along with bits of the plan itself (e.g. ‘then I say’). The notion ‘trap for Poohs’ stems from an earlier conversation in which Pooh had predicted the coming of the Heffalump. The interjection ‘ho-ho’ displaces Heffalump’s apparently via a similarity of initial sound;12 the doubling of syllables then spreads to ‘come’.
32. This conversation, though somewhat fantastic, is a good illustration of how a discourse participant draws up a plan and predicts the contributions of others. If the others deny acceptance of the plan, thus violating the principle of cooperation, textuality can be impaired. It follows that an unwilling participant could block a discourse by refusing acceptance, e.g., by not recovering or upholding coherence. Here is an instructive sample in which Robert Benchley prevents Mr Thwomly from recounting boring adventures abroad. Since the participants are in a moving railway carriage, Benchley cannot merely leave. His tactic is to fail to accept the main Topic concepts (‘railway carriage’, ‘France’, ‘Frenchman’):
  Thwomly: We have been all summer in France, you know, and those French trains are all divided up into compartments.... On the way from Paris to Marseilles we had a funny experience. I was sitting next to a Frenchman who was getting off at Lyons...and he was dozing when we got in. So I—
 Benchley: Did you get to France at all when you were away?
 Thwomly: This was in France that I’m telling you about. On the way from Paris to Marseilles. We got into a railway carriage—
 Benchley: The railway carriages there aren’t like ours here, are they? I’ve seen pictures of them, and they seem to he more like compartments of some sort.
 Thwomly (a little discouraged): That was a French railway carriage I was just describing to you. I sat next to a man—
 Benchley: A Frenchman?
 Thwomly: Sure, a Frenchman. That’s the point.
 Benchley: Oh, I see.
 Thwomly: Well, the Frenchman was asleep, and when we got in I stumbled over his feet. So he woke up and said something in French which I couldn’t understand ...
 benchley: You were across the border into France, then?
 Thwomly (giving the whole thing up as a bad job): And what did you do this summer? (Benchley 1954: 106)
33. In Chapter V, we used the notion of topic to describe text-world concepts with the greatest density of linkage to other concepts (cf. V.38). Unless topic concepts are activated, the processing of the textual world is not feasible because there are no control centres to show the main ideas. Thus, Mr Thwomly is blocked from recounting his dull ‘experience’ by the impression that his receiver audience has not grasped the concepts upon which he is trying to build. Benchley’s questions would have been cooperative if they dealt with variable or unknown aspects of the textual world (cf. IX 14); but instead, they concern material which was plainly established just before. Thwomly has not violated the maxim of manner by being obscure or ambiguous (cf. VI.8ff.); yet the feedback seems to indicate that he has. He is forced to restate basic notions as if they were new [114.3, 5, 7], gradually becoming ‘discouraged’ at the slight chances of ever getting to the ‘point’ [114.7]. Just when he finally launches into the details of the trivial scene (trying to excuse oneself across a language barrier), he is thrown back to zero by a question about the most essential fact (location of the event sequence). Understandably, he ‘gives the whole thing up’ in the face of failing to make any headway [114.11]. In this fashion, Benchley has defeated the other participant’s goal and attained his own (peace and quiet) via a lack of acceptance.
34. We can see from the examples in this chapter how great a role is played by the context of communication with respect to intentionality and acceptability. Far more is involved than a comparison of sentences with an all-purpose grammar. We must also consider factors like these: (a) how much knowledge is shared or conveyed among participants; (b) how the participants are trying to monitor or manage the situation; and (c) how the texts composing the discourse are related to each other. We shall devote the next three chapters to each of those factors in turn.
1 These standards apply in a special way to texts produced or received by computers. Here, the attitudes are located in the programmers rather than in the machine: the intending and accepting as activities are only simulated.
2 The clergyman has recently arrived from a ‘theological seminary’ in the East and is thus unused to the speech in the mining camp. The miner uses expressions from card games; ‘you ruther hold over me, pard’ = ‘you are holding rather higher cards than I am, partner’; ‘I can’t call that hand’ = ‘I can’t ask you to reveal your hand of cards’; ‘ante and pass the buck’ = ‘put up some money and move on to another player’. The miner of course wants the clergyman to use les formal vocabulary.
3 The Grice papers were produced much earlier than the dates we are citing. Grice (1971) was circulated as early as 1957; Grice (1975) was delivered as a lecture in 1967, but, according to Grice himself (personal communication to RdB) was composed several years before that.
4 See note 3 to this chapter. Our discussion incorporates some comments made by Grice himself to RdB at a colloquium in Bielefeld, June, 1979.
5. King Kong vs. Godzilla (1963), directed by Thomas Montgomery—giant ape pitted again mutant tyrannosaur.
6 A transition phase between the stimulus-response outlook and modern plan theory was brought about by the pivotal work of Miller, Galanter & Pribram (1960). Their model foresaw the organism “testing” the environment and “operating” on it until a goal was obtained.
7 If a plan works well and comes to be applied automatically, we can use the term script (cf. V.16); such appears to be the case with Tom Sawyer’s plan for bargaining other boys out of their possessions in return for the ‘privilege” of whitewashing (cf. VIII.27).
8 A notorious illustration is the “centre-embedded” sentence of the kind: ‘The pen the author the editor liked used was new’ (cf. Fodor & Garrett 1967). Since no reasonable person produces such sentences, it is hard to see why so much research has been lavished on how people process them.
9 Cf. Goldman (1975:346); Bemstein & Pike (1977:3); Carbonell Jr. (1978); Cohen (1978: 16); McCal1a (1978: 19); Rubin (1978b: 136); Allen (1979:6).
10 Actually, the scene had been previously worked out by Pooh, so that Piglet’s plan is only borrowed.
11 The loss of cohesion through indecision or surprise is not uncommon (cf. VI-2, 31).
12 The confusion of surface elements with similar or shared sounds is frequent in “miscues” (errors made by altering a text while reading it aloud, cf. note 13 to Chapter IV). Piglet’s mistakes are rather unlikely from a linguistic standpoint, however.
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