O'Reilly logo

Stay ahead with the world's most comprehensive technology and business learning platform.

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required

The Semantics-Pragmatics Controversy

Book Description

Currently, there is a great number of approaches to the semantics-pragmatics distinction on the market. This book is unique in that it offers a comprehensive overview, comparison and critical evaluation of these approaches. Taking as a starting point the notorious difficulty of differentiating so-called literal from non-literal (or figurative) meaning, it covers a wide range of the key current topics in semantics and pragmatics, e.g., the saying/meaning distinction, minimalism vs. contextualism, unarticulated constituents, indexicalism, (generalised) conversational implicatures, speech acts, levels of meaning in interpretation, the role of context in interpretation, the nature of lexical meaning. Notably, rather than taking a solely theoretical perspective, the book integrates psycho- and neurolinguistic perspectives, considering experimental results concerning the (differences in) processing of the various types of meaning covered. In terms of topics covered and perspectives taken, it is equally well suited for undergraduate as well as postgraduate students of linguistics and/or philosophy of language.

Table of Contents

  1. Language, Context, and Cognition
  2. Title Page
  3. Copyright Page
  4. Acknowledgements
  5. Table of Contents
  6. Table of Figures
  7. 1 Introduction
    1. 1.1 The Standard Notions of Literal Meaning and Non-literal Meaning and Their Problems
    2. 1.2 Aim of the Book
    3. 1.3 Plan of the book
  8. 2 Against the Standard Notions of Literal Meaning and Non-literal Meaning
    1. 2.1 Literal Meaning and Context-Independence
      1. 2.1.1 Literal Meaning as Compositional Meaning?
      2. 2.1.2 Literal Meaning as Context-Independent?
      3. 2.1.3 Literal Meaning as Primary to Non-literal Meaning?
    2. 2.2 Non-literal Meaning and Conventionality
      1. 2.2.1 Empirical Evidence
      2. 2.2.2 Theoretical Considerations
    3. 2.3 Consequences for Lexical Meaning
      1. 2.3.1 Problematic Data
      2. 2.3.2 Approaches to Meaning in the Lexicon
        1. 2.3.2.1 The Maximalist Approach
        2. 2.3.2.2 The Intermediate Approach
      3. 2.3.3 Semantic Underspecification in the Lexicon
        1. 2.3.3.1 The Minimalist Approach
        2. 2.3.3.2 Ruhl’s monosemic approach
        3. 2.3.3.3 A Cognitive Approach
        4. 2.3.3.4 Underspecification and Conventionality
        5. 2.3.3.5 Underspecification and Semantic Relations
        6. 2.3.3.6 More Underspecification in the Lexicon
        7. 2.3.3.7 Underspecification of Semantic Composition
    4. 2.4 Empirical Investigations of Aspects of Semantics
      1. 2.4.1 Polysemy vs. Underspecification in the Lexicon
      2. 2.4.2 Empirical Evidence for Semantic vs. Pragmatic Processing
    5. 2.5 Why the Standard Notions?
    6. 2.6 Summary
  9. 3 Utterance Meaning and the Literal/Non-literalDistinction
    1. 3.1 Levels of Meaning
      1. 3.1.1 Grice’s Four Types of Meaning
      2. 3.1.2 Bierwisch’s Three Levels of Meaning
      3. 3.1.3 Summary
    2. 3.2 The Problem of Characterising the Level of Utterance Meaning
      1. 3.2.1 Explicit/Implicit Meaning
        1. 3.2.1.1 Explicatures
        2. 3.2.1.2 Implicitures
      2. 3.2.2 Unarticulated Constituents vs. Hidden Indexicals
      3. 3.2.3 Minimal Semantic Content and Full Propositionality
      4. 3.2.4 Minimal Proposition vs. Proposition Expressed
    3. 3.3 Summary
  10. 4 Utterance Meaning and Communicative Sense – Two Levels or One?
    1. 4.1 Problematic Phenomena
      1. 4.1.1 Metaphor
        1. 4.1.1.1 Traditional Characterisation and its Problems
        2. 4.1.1.2 Metaphor and The Similarity of Various Types of Meaning
        3. 4.1.1.3 Metaphor and Attributive Categories
        4. 4.1.1.4 Empirical Results Concerning Metaphor Interpretation
        5. 4.1.1.5 Formal approaches to metaphor interpretation
        6. 4.1.1.6 Summary
      2. 4.1.2 Irony
        1. 4.1.2.1 Traditional Characterisation and its Problems
        2. 4.1.2.2 Irony as echoic interpretive use
        3. 4.1.2.3 Irony as a Form of Indirect Negation
        4. 4.1.2.4 Empirical Results Concerning Irony Interpretation
        5. 4.1.2.5 Summary
      3. 4.1.3 Conversational Implicatures
        1. 4.1.3.1 Generalised vs. Particularised Conversational Implicature – Theoretical Approaches
        2. 4.1.3.2 (Mostly) Empirical Evidence Concerning GCIs
        3. 4.1.3.3 Summary
      4. 4.1.4 Speech Acts
    2. 4.2 Differentiating What is Said from What is Meant
      1. 4.2.1 What is Said/What is Meant and Indirect Speech Reports
      2. 4.2.2 Primary vs. Secondary Pragmatic Processes
      3. 4.2.3 What is Said/What is Meant and Distinct Knowledge Systems
    3. 4.3 Summary
  11. 5 Varieties of Meaning, Context and the Semantics/Pragmatics Distinction
    1. 5.1 Towards an Alternative Characterisation of (Non-)Literal Meaning
      1. 5.1.1 Literal Meaning and Types of Non-literal Meaning
      2. 5.1.2 Literal Meaning as ‘Minimal Meaning’
      3. 5.1.3 Nature of the Processes Determining (Non)-Literal Meaning
      4. 5.1.4 (Non-)Literal Meaning as (Non-)Basic Meaning
    2. 5.2 The Nature of Context in Utterance Interpretation
      1. 5.2.1 Context and the Interpretation of Implicit Meaning Aspects
        1. 5.2.1.1 Free Enrichment and Implicit Meaning Aspects
        2. 5.2.1.2 Discourse Interpretation and Information from Conceptual Frames
        3. 5.2.1.3 Free Enrichment and Information from Conceptual Frames
        4. 5.2.1.4 Consequences
      2. 5.2.2 Context, Semantic Interpretation and the Semantics/ Pragmatics Distinction
    3. 5.3 Summary
  12. 6 Summary
  13. Bibliography
  14. Index