Browse results

Nicolas Ruytenbeek

Abstract

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.

Christoph Unger

Abstract

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.

Gradual conventionalization of pragmatic inferences

The y/e and o/u alternation in Spanish

Errapel Mejías-Bikandi

Abstract

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.

Nathaniel Lotze

Abstract

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

Abstract

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.

Salvatore Pistoia-Reda

Abstract

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.

Speaking figuratively

The role of the tacit in artful language

Kathryn O’Shields

Abstract

This article addresses two forms of artful language: similes and metaphors. It argues that their artful quality arises from a deliberate omission of information, requiring the listener to fill in the missing parts. Sentences of the form ‘A is like B’ have two uses: as plain comparisons (called similatives) stating that two individuals (item A and item B) are comparable and share properties, and as similes, which are intended as assertions that A is “B-like” in some way. The simile’s absent information is tacit assumptions about its second member, B. As a result, similatives and similes behave differently and have distinct syntactic interpretations. The absent information in a metaphor of the form ‘A is a B’ is a tacit analogy, A:X::B:Y. As such, a metaphor asserts a parallel between two unstated relations, not its two identified items. The tacit members X and Y create the structural framework for the metaphor. Because metaphors use different tacit information than similes do, the two forms require distinct interpretations. It is also shown here that the literal truth of similes and metaphors is irrelevant to their interpretations. Nevertheless, artful statements can be used to make true or false assertions. Their truth is determined by taking their absent information into account. Furthermore, similes and metaphors can meaningfully use negation, as plain statements can. Patterns in simile and metaphor usage reveal that there are predictable processes behind their creation and systematic methods to their interpretations. Once these are identified, the linguistic contributions of similes and metaphors become clear.

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Marianna Gkiouleka

Abstract

This chapter explores a number of adverbial structures that are used by the speakers of Pontic dialect, an “inner Asia-Minor dialect”, in order to answer the question “Where?”, to describe space. To this end, it focuses on data that are driven from both written and spoken sources. I address the structures and dynamics of adverbial constructions that capture the perception of space. More specifically, I investigate a broad number of [Adv Adv] constructions that are attested innovations of this dialect, consisting of a set of morphologically simple adverbs and which I view as outcomes of a compounding process. Throughout the different sub-sections of the chapter, I address the following questions: i) what is adverb as a category; ii) what constitutes an adverb and how an adverb is formed; iii) how is space expressed through this part-of-speech category; iv) which morphological processes are activated in order to create adverbial constructs in Pontic.

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Angela Ralli

Abstract

This article deals with the morphological topics of prefixoids and verb borrowing in Aivaliot, a dialect spoken before 1922 in Western Asia Minor and nowadays in certain dialectal enclaves in Greece. After giving a brief historic and linguistic overview of the dialect, it describes and analyzes two native prefixoids which do not exist in Standard Modern Greek, plaku- and sa-, claiming that there is a way to have a synchronic look at these items and that it is possible to consider their category as being morphologically distinct from the categories of stems and affixes. It argues that the existence of affixoids should be seen as language dependent and that they may appear in languages with stem-based morphology, such as Greek. The crucial role of stem morphology is also pointed out in the subsequent section of verb borrowing, where Aivaliot verbs of both Turkish and Italo-Romance origin are examined. It is proposed that for a language it is possible to borrow and accommodate verbs, provided that certain conditions are met: for instance, integration of the loan items according to the rules of its morphology and a certain matching between its morpho-phonological characteristics with those of the donor.

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Mark Janse

Abstract

Cappadocian is well-known for having two types of agglutinative inflec¬tions: (1) mílos ‘mill’, gen. míloz-ju, pl. míloz-ja; (2) néka, pl. néc-es, gen. néc-ez-ju. This chapter shows on the basis of a detailed investigation of the dialectal evidence how these agglutinative inflections originated in the plural of the inherited masculine nouns in os due to a number of specifically Cappadocian innovations involving deletion of unstressed [i] and [u], differential object marking and the distinction between animate and inanimate nouns and, last but not least, pattern replication from Turkish. It is argued that the two types traditionally recognized as being agglutinative are actually analogical extensions of innovations which originated in the novel plural inflection of animate masculine nouns in os.