Abstract

Many theorists claim that a hearer, when interpreting a speaker’s utterance, does not only consider the conventional meaning of the sentence uttered, but takes all sorts of clues into account in order to arrive at the speaker’s intended meaning. Against this other theorists argue that interpretation is based primarily on conventional meaning.

I will argue that even though a hearer often is interested in the speaker’s intention, she is not under any obligation to let the speaker’s intention regulate her meaning assignment. A hearer’s meaning assignment may depend neither on convention nor intention, but on considerations of what the meaning most reasonably assigned is and the hearer’s interest.