Jeffrey M. Zacks
Edited by Patricia Salazar-Campillo and Victòria Codina-Espurz
With Some Data for Adjacent Areas
Peter Behnstedt and Aharon Geva Kleinberger
Ethnographic Approaches to the Tales We Tell
Edited by Elizabeth Falconi and Kathryn Graber
A general issue in pragmatics concerns the definitions of speech act (SA) types. Cognitive linguists agree that a directive SA involves a speaker exerting a force towards her addressee’s (A) performance of some action, and the subtypes of directives have been approached in terms of a metaphorical grounding based on force image-schemas. These idealized cognitive models include graded features, the values and the centrality of which differ across directive subtypes. I address the relationship between the form of utterances used as directives and the ontology of directives, and I discuss recent experiments supporting a view of SA s as graded categories. I show that these approaches enable adopting an empirically adequate distinction between the levels of pragmatic meaning and semantic meaning, which raises interesting possibilities for further experimental work on speech act recognition in cognitive linguistics.
Exclamations, exclamatives and miratives are utterances that do not merely convey some informative content, but are designed to express the emotional attitude of surprise. In this paper I argue that analysing what it means to express surprise must be based on three main ideas: (1) the idea that exclamatives are instances of metarepresentational use; (2) the idea that what is communicated in exclamatives and exclamations are what relevance theorists call impressions, rather than definite propositions, where impressions are communicated by slightly increasing the manifestness of a whole range of propositions; and (3) the idea that utterances may not only communicate by conveying Gricean meaning, but also by showing, i.e. by providing direct evidence for certain thoughts. Thus, what is communicated in exclamatives and exclamations is typically not reducible to Gricean speaker meanings. I outline the implications of my approach by comparing it to some recent semantic accounts.
The y/e and o/u alternation in Spanish
The alternation in Spanish between y and e on the one hand, and u and o in the other, is examined. It is proposed that the standard account under which the choice of one variant over the other is sensitive only to the phonetic context is incomplete. Specifically, the paper argues that pragmatic inferences that typically appear cross-linguistically associated with these connectors, and that result in asymmetric interpretations, are not favoured in Spanish with the morphological variants e and u, which favour symmetric interpretations. The paper proposes that the relevant pragmatic inferences have been partially conventionalized for y and o, but that this conventionalization has not occurred in the case of e and u for the reason that they are much less frequently used. Thus, discussion and data offer a view of a stage in a gradual process of semantic change via conventionalization of pragmatic inferences.
Trick questions are a subgenre of puzzles that have undergone little, if any, semantic-pragmatic study, in part because they are often conflated with riddles. While they do share some mechanisms with riddles, they lean much more heavily on pragmatic mechanisms, and how they make use of them is quite different. This paper focuses on three types of invited presuppositions (box, red herring, and rug) that add more weight to the theory that presuppositions are best suited to pragmatic analysis. The lingering question is whether these three types are more or less comprehensive, or if other types might be distilled from other trick questions.
Victoria Escandell-Vidal and Elena Vilinbakhova
This paper investigates utterances with the structure A is not A, showing that they can be fully informative and are felicitously used and understood in discourse. Relying on the notions of metalinguistic and metarepresentational negation, we argue that the class of utterances A is not A is heterogeneous and differs in regard to the lower-order representation under the scope of the negative operator. Specifically, we distinguish negated tautologies and copular contradictions. The understanding of negated tautologies involves identifying the corresponding affirmative deep tautology (Bulhof & Gimbel, 2001) and rejecting the assumptions derived from it. The interpretation of copular contradictions is based on distinguishing each of the occurrences of the repeated constituent as describing (a) one single referent with different properties; (b) two different referents satisfying the same description in different evaluation worlds; (c) two different referents, with different properties, which are accessed by means of the same linguistic expression.
This paper discusses the Contextual Blindness principle as extended to the exclusive operator only. It focuses on the interaction between only and alternatives derived from a special category of contextual orders, generally referred to as “rank orders”. It submits problematic evidence for the principle and argues that access to contextual information is required in the relevant cases. Its conclusion is that, as things stand, these cases constitute an obstacle to the semantic generalization of scalar reasoning involving only.