Communication, Manipulation, Seduction

The Pragmatics of Transparency


  • Herman Parret


Communicative interaction is never fully transparent. A definition in terms of pure transfer
of information is an impoverishment of the semantic content of a message. Other emotional
connotations of linguistic interaction are deeply rooted into the depth of the psychology
of subjects. This means that the interaction is often manipulatory and even seductive. This
paper tries to present in a more systematic way the conditions of manipulatory and seductive
discursive production. Speech acts theory (Austin, Searle) and conversational logic (Grice)
offered some tools to formalize more or less these subtle production conditions of nontransparent