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A Critical Review of the Relevance TheorySong, Kyong-Sook This paper presents a critical review of Sperber & Wilson(1986)'s relevance theory. This paper first discusses the relevance theory with reference to the key concepts such as relevance, optimal relevance, manifestness, cognitive environment, contextual implication, ostensive inference communication, and contextual effects. This study then presents a critical comparison of Sperber & Wilson(1986)'s principle of relevance and Grice (1975)'s cooperative principle. The principle of relevance is more explicit and general, but it does not claim to have any relevance with the notion of politeness. For the effective communication, interlocutors do not have to know the principle of relevance, whereas they need to know and comply with the cooperative principle. This study also introduces Haft-van Rees(1989)'s four types of relevance: elocutionary, propositional, illocutionary, and interactional relevance. Sperber & Wilson(1987: 697) claims that "to communicate is to claim someone's attention, hence to communicate is to imply that the information communicated is relevant." Thus, the relevance theory is an important framework for better understanding of human communication.