While he does not use the term, the process of arriving at conclusions mentioned in the above quote by the film-maker David Lynch is what psychologists describe as inference. Lynch is suggesting that people draw conclusions based on what they observe in life and also when watching films. To take a simple example, if I see a colleague at work moving very quickly down a corridor, I might conclude that they are late for an appointment. We also make inferences when people communicate with us in everyday spoken and written communications. And we make inferences when reading texts and watching all kinds of performances. Pragmatics is the field which studies inferences like this. Linguists are interested in inference because it plays a role in linguistic communication. Stylisticians are interested in inference because it plays a role in how we respond to literary and non-literary texts.
|Title of host publication
|The Cambridge Handbook of Stylistics
|Peter Stockwell, Sara Whiteley
|Cambridge University Press
|Number of pages
|Published - 30 Apr 2014