Semantics & Pragmatics

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Transcript Semantics & Pragmatics

Semantics & Pragmatics

What does this mean?

  From the lowly phone through the morph , the phrase , and the clause : ◦ ◦ ◦ ◦ NPs & VPs label meaning at a very general level; grammatical relations (Actor/Undergoer, S/O, Theme) address it more subtly; morphs are full of it; & even some phones may correlate with meaning (cf. phonoaesthesia) SO WHAT IS IT?

Meaning

Semantics

: meaning as encoded by words and sentences 

Pragmatics

instances ◦ : speakers’ intended meaning; ‘what they meant’ in particular and what hearers’ infer

Approaches to Meaning

 Contrast literal & figurative meaning  Contrast sentence & utterance meaning  Lexical Semantics: words’ sem relns

Goals

 X-cultural diffs in Lex Sem  Speech acts, Reference, Presuppositions, & Co-operative Principle  NB ‘Context’ in utterance mng

Goals

 “that which is expressed by Ss, utterances, & their components”  “the content conveyed in communication by language”  Waaay too simplistic but whaddya do?

Meaning

 The real or imaginary ‘things’ we refer to = reference  Sense = referent.

the "cognitive significance" of the

Meaning: Reference & Sense

 The ◦ sense of a linguistic sign derives part of its essence from the greater system of inter-sign relations in which in resides The sense of ‘hand’ is defined in part by its reln to ‘arm’ ◦ The idea of ‘plural noun’ gets its sense partly due to the notion ‘singular noun’ (vs. Jap & Skt)  This contrast = value

Meaning:

Sense

= value…

 ‘defining properties that must be understood in any application of a linguistic item’ … intension  E.g. sheep = ‘animal, mammal, grazes, ruminant, quadruped, even-toed ungulates…’

Meaning:

Sense

= value + _____

 Connotations ◦ Unstable meaning associations e.g. emotional overtones which are not always present (vs. sense , which is essential) ◦ Differ by attitudes (e.g. a mathematical way of thinking about…) ◦ NB language acquisition & change; connotation becomes part of sense

Sense

&

Connotations

 Literal component lexical and grammatical signs ◦ = the sense encoded by its ‘kick the bucket’  Figurative = an extension of literal mng  Rhetoric extension; 3 of which are: ◦ ◦ Metaphor codifies many types of meaning Metonymy ◦ Synedoche

Literal

vs.

Figurative

Meaning

 Metaphor ◦ Sense is extended to another concept based on resemblance ◦ ‘Belgian drivers are cowboys’ ◦ …they tend to invoke notion of a cowboy ◦ (the hearer then decides the basis for comparison) Figurative Mng: Metaphor

 Metonymy ◦ Sense extended to another concept due to a typical or habitual association ◦ ‘go to the university’ ◦ ‘likes the bottle’ ◦ ‘Washington is in talks with the Kremlin) Figurative Mng: Metonymy

 Synedoche ◦ Sense is extended via a part-whole relation ◦ ‘wheels’ ◦ ‘the denver omelet’ ◦ ‘the radiator job’ Figurative Mng: Synedoche

 Contrasting the two is literally not so easy  Cognitive Linguistics : metaphor central role in language & thought, & is pervasive in ordinary language has a

Lit-

fig

:

dis

tinc

tion

 Contrasting the two is literally not so easy  Cognitive Linguistics : metaphor central role in language & thought, & is pervasive in ordinary language has a  Metaphor is seen as a cognitive strategy allowing us to

understand one experiential domain in terms of another

Lit-

fig

:

dis

tinc

tion

 Metaphor allowing us to understand one experiential domain is seen as a cognitive strategy in terms of another

Cognitive Linguistics

 Metaphor allowing us to understand one experiential domain is seen as a cognitive strategy in terms of another  NB many domains are understood in terms of space, and are expressed linguistically via spatial relations: ◦ ‘cat at me’  Hence Lit Fig distinction is iffy

Cognitive Linguistics

 Sentence phrases, gr relns) and their mngs ◦ Mng = combine signs (morphs, The car - broke down - yesterday ◦ Actor-------event----temporal location

Sentence

vs Utterance Mng

 Sentence phrases, gr relns) and their mngs ◦ Mng = combine signs (morphs, The car - broke down - yesterday ◦ Actor-------event----temporal location  But

context

alters that ‘same conceptual event’ ◦ Thus its utterance meaning varies

Sentence

vs Utterance Mng

 Sentence ◦  Semantics Meaning in isolation; meaning as it is within the ‘system of language’

Sentence

vs Utterance Mng

 Sentence ◦  Semantics Meaning in isolation; meaning as it is within the ‘system of language’  Utterance  ◦ Pragmatics Meaning in actual language use; meaning as conveyed by an expression in real speech; patterns in speech (outside grammar/lexicon) – re: reln b/w speaker & hearer

Sentence

vs Utterance Mng

 Is the sem-prag division real?...

 Some linguists reject the division or are dubious about the ‘division of labor’ b/w the two

More to come…

 P 134 ◦ Students: note fig 6.1 – try to ‘read’ it; it’s worthwhile. However, I think the first sentence below the figure shd be ‘value and INtension…’ – not EX- look above the two people and you’ll see a rectangle w/ value and intension in it. At the top is a tree diagram: the metaphorical EXtension

 Re: the semantics of lexical items which must be listed separately in the lexicon.

 These are signs and we will focus on their senses

Semantics

 3 interrelated key issues in Lex Sem: ◦ Pinning down & identifying the meanings of lexical items ◦ Relns amongst lexical items’ meanings ◦ The specification of the meaning of items The value of a sign depends on its contrasts with the rest of the language system

Semantics – issues

 Homophony ◦ 2 different lexemes share the same phonological form (port, bank, bouy/boy)

Semantics: concerns

 Homophony ◦ 2 different lexemes share the same phonological form (port, bank, bouy/boy)  Partial homophones: ‘bear’ (N & V) – shares same phonological form in some inflected forms but not all: ◦ Bear, bears ◦ Bear, bears; bore; born

Semantics: concerns

 Polysemy ◦ Identical forms have related meanings ◦ ‘ear’ = hearing organ; attention; ability; favorable disposition; etc

Semantics: concerns

 Polysemy ◦ Identical forms have related meanings ◦ ‘ear’ = hearing organ; attention; ability; favorable disposition; etc  Dictionaries tend to separate homophones

but not polysemous

terms; however distinction is not always easy

Semantics: concerns

  Polysemy Cf. ear: ◦ Above e.g.s are easy to relate ◦ ◦ But ‘ear of corn’ (though usually listed separately in dictionaries) is often imagined to resemble the above ‘ear’ Lexicographers go beyond folk etymology (usually) and look into OE & ME

Semantics: concerns

  Polysemy bank ◦ Few of us see semantic reln b/w ‘ridge’ & ‘$’ ◦ Dictionaries tend to treat them separately

Semantics:

polysemy

bank on that you can

  Polysemy bank ◦ Few of us see semantic reln b/w ‘ridge’ & ‘$’ ◦ Dictionaries tend to treat them separately ◦ Both originate from *bangk in Proto-Germanic (offshoot of Proto I-E <4m BC> & parent of English, German, Dutch, Nor, Swed, Dk, Ic)

Semantics: polysemy bank on that you can

 Polysemy ◦ *bangk in Proto-Germanic = ‘ridge, mound, bordering slope’

Semantics: concerns

 Polysemy ◦ *bangk in Proto-Germanic = ‘ridge, mound, bordering slope’ ◦ Ridge>bench>moneylender’s counter>money lender’s shop>financial institution

Semantics: concerns

 Polysemy ◦ *bangk in Proto-Germanic = ‘ridge, mound, bordering slope’ ◦ Ridge>bench>moneylender’s counter>money lender’s shop>financial institution ◦ Ridge>slope>side of watercourse

Semantics: concerns

 Polysemy ◦ *bangk in Proto-Germanic = ‘ridge, mound, bordering slope’ ◦ Ridge>bench>moneylender’s counter>money lender’s shop>financial institution ◦ Ridge>slope>side of watercourse ◦ …typical semantic extension

Semantics: concerns

 Vagueness ◦ A lack of specificity of meaning ◦ Recall ‘ear’ = ‘hearing organ’  ‘in your ear’

Semantics

 Vagueness ◦ A lack of specificity of meaning ◦ ◦ Recall ‘ear’ = ‘hearing organ’  ‘in your ear’ But also: ‘pull your ear’ & ‘scratch its ear’

Semantics

 Vagueness ◦ A lack of specificity of meaning ◦ ◦ Recall ‘ear’ = ‘hearing organ’  ‘in your ear’ But also: ‘pull your ear’ & ‘scratch its ear’ ◦ The mental concepts invoked in each differ

Semantics

  Vagueness ‘in your ear’ ◦ Ear as an orifice

Semantics: concerns

  Vagueness ‘in your ear’ ◦ Ear as an orifice  ‘pull your ear’ ◦ Ear as an appendage of human head

Semantics: concerns

  Vagueness ‘in your ear’ ◦ Ear as an orifice  ‘pull your ear’ ◦ Ear as an appendage of human head  ‘scratch its ear’ ◦ Ear as appendage of dog’s head

Semantics: concerns

 Vagueness ◦ We don’t usually think of these as polysemies of ear – because they’re so closely related

Semantics: concerns

 Vagueness ◦ We don’t usually think of these as polysemies of ear – because they’re so closely related  See also ‘wrong’ ◦ Depending on its sentence, the meaning gets narrowed

Semantics: concerns

 ◦ Vagueness ‘wrong…    to speak w/ your mouth full’ (improper) to take Indian kids from their moms’ (immmoral) to attribute that quote to Saussure’ (incorrect)

Semantics: concerns

 ◦ Vagueness ‘wrong…    to speak w/ your mouth full’ (improper) to take Indian kids from their moms’ (immmoral) to attribute that quote to Saussure’ (incorrect) ◦ A general sense covers these but the sentential context narrows the meaning down

Semantics: concerns

 These are: contextual meanings ◦ They aren’t fixed (vs. sense of a lexeme)

Semantics: concerns

 These are: contextual meanings ◦ They aren’t fixed (vs. sense of a lexeme) ◦ Cf. ‘it was wrong for the govt to have taken the Indian children’  This doesn’t necessarily invoke a moral comment

Semantics: concerns

 These are: contextual meanings ◦ They aren’t fixed (vs. sense of a lexeme) ◦ Cf. ‘it was wrong for the govt to have taken the Indian children’  This doesn’t necessarily invoke a moral comment  Vagueness-polysemy =

Semantics: concerns

 These are: contextual meanings ◦ They aren’t fixed (vs. sense of a lexeme) ◦ Cf. ‘it was wrong for the govt to have taken the Indian children’  This doesn’t necessarily invoke a moral comment  Vagueness-polysemy = variations on degrees of abstraction

Semantics: concerns

 Lexemes relate to each other semantically in various ways, & form a highly structured system

Semantics: Lex Sem relns

 Lexemes relate to each other semantically in various ways, & form a highly structured system  As a huge network vs. a mere listing

Semantics: Lex Sem relns

 Lexemes relate to each other semantically in various ways, & form a highly structured system  As a huge network vs. a mere listing  4 types of sem reln: synonymy,

antonymy, hyponymy, & meronymy

Semantics: Lex Sem relns

 Synonymy ◦ Reln of sameness/similarity (p 137)  Exact synonyms are rare (impossible?)  Often differentiate registers/dialects  May differ in their collocations

Semantics: lex sem relns

 Antonyms ◦ Gradable   Allow intermediate degrees: used w/ comparatives Its negation doesn’t imply its opposite ◦ Non-gradable: polaric

Semantics: lex sem relns

 Hyponymy ◦ One lexeme includes another ◦ Tool: hammer, saw, chisel, screwdriver…   Hypernym: tool Hyponyms: saw, hammer,… ◦ Common in some semantic domains:  Kinship, colors, plants/animals

Semantics: lex sem relns

 Meronymy ◦ Part-whole reln ◦ ◦ Door & window are meronyms of room Wheel & pedal are meronyms of bicycle

Semantics: lex sem relns

 Meronymy ◦ Part-whole reln ◦ ◦ Door & window are meronyms of room Wheel & pedal are meronyms of bicycle differs from hyponymy

transitivity

in the notion of

Semantics: lex sem relns

 Difference in transitivity b/w meronyms & hyponyms ◦ Alsatian>dog>animal (hyponyms)

Semantics: lex sem relns

 Difference in transitivity b/w meronyms & hyponyms ◦ Alsatian>dog>animal (hyponyms) ◦ ◦ Nostril>nose (meronym) Nose>face (meronym)

Semantics: lex sem relns

 ◦ ◦ ◦ Difference in transitivity b/w meronyms & hyponyms ◦ Alsatian>dog>animal (hyponyms) Nostril>nose (meronym) Nose>face (meronym) But nostril>face (not meronym)  We don’t say a nostril is part of a face (we could but we don’t normally conceptualize it as such)

Semantics: lex sem relns

  Hyponymy Meronymy is transitive is not.

Semantics: lex sem relns

  Hyponymy is transitive Meronymy is not.

 These are lexical networks – not network relations in the ‘real world

Semantics: lex sem relns

  Hyponymy is transitive Meronymy is not.

 These are lexical networks – not network relations in the ‘real world’   Folk conceptualizations vs. science Whale = mammal? fish?

Semantics: lex sem relns

 To pin down the sense of a word… ◦ (e.g. ‘mother’) ◦ ◦ ◦ Decide if diff mngs belong to diff lex items sharing the same form Or are polysemies Or are separate contextual mngs  One technique is componential analysis

Semantics: lex sem relns

Componential analysis ◦ A lexeme’s semantic mng is decomposed ◦ Identifies features that differentiate words ◦ E.g. +/- animate

Semantics: lex sem relns

 Componential analysis ◦ Criticized by prototype theory for its

intensional definitions

◦ Component features are more technical than the term they describe

Semantics: lex sem relns

Semantics = mng as encoded in Lx form

Pragmatics: utterance mng

Semantics = mng as encoded in Lx form  But there’s more to meaning-making than this

Pragmatics: utterance mng

Semantics = mng as encoded in Lx form  But there’s more to meaning-making than this  The sounds that make up speech merely outline mng; listeners then fill in/extrapolates

Pragmatics: utterance mng

 We excel at ‘reading into’ things (+/-)

Pragmatics

 We excel at ‘reading into’ things (+/-)  2 types of mng we fill in: ◦ What the spkr intends to do with the utterance –why they spoke it in the first place - & how its inferred

Pragmatics

 We excel at ‘reading into’ things (+/-)  2 types of mng we fill in: ◦ ◦ What the spkr intends to do with the utterance –why they spoke it in the first place - & how its inferred Reference or referential meaning

Pragmatics

 Speech is a social act – it’s for doing stuff

Prag: Speech Acts

 Speech is a social act – it’s for doing stuff  Informing, promising, requesting, questioning, commanding, warning, preaching, congratulating, betting, swearing, exclaiming….are speech acts

Prag: Speech Acts

 Speech is a social act – it’s for doing stuff  Informing, promising, requesting, questioning, commanding, warning, preaching, congratulating, betting, swearing, exclaiming….are speech acts  Type of action performed by speaking = its

illocutionary force

Prag: Speech Acts

 Sentences which make explicit their illocutionary force by a speech act verb = performatives

Prag: Speech Acts: performatives

 ◦ ◦ ◦ ◦ ◦ ◦ Sentences which make explicit their illocutionary force by a speech act verb = performatives I bet you… I resign.

I apologize.

I dare you… I pronounce you man & wife.

I order you to…

Prag: Speech Acts: performatives

 Most sp acts are not so obvious ◦ Cf. ‘the car broke down yesterday’ as a statement or a request/refusal

Prag: Sp Acts: direct sp acts

 Most sp acts are not so obvious ◦ Cf. ‘the car broke down yesterday’ as a statement or a request/refusal  Direct speech acts ◦ Naturally associated with form   Grammatically specified (table 6.1) Lexically specified (performatives)

Prag: Sp Acts: direct sp acts

 When a syntactic form is used with an atypical illocutionary force: indirect speech act ◦ ‘can you pass the salt?’ 

Question? Command? Request?

 often used for politeness

Prag: Sp Acts: IN direct sp acts

 ‘I pronounce you man & wife’ only works if the speaker is authorized

Prag: Sp Acts: felicity conditions

 ‘I pronounce you man & wife’ only works if the speaker is authorized  ‘Where are my glasses’ & ‘Please give me my glasses’ only achieve their intended purposes

Prag: Sp Acts: felicity conditions

 ‘I pronounce you man & wife’ only works if the speaker is authorized  ‘Where are my glasses’ & ‘Please give me my glasses’ only achieve their intended purposes when the spkr doesn’t know where his/her glasses are & when spkr doesn’t have the glasses (respectively)

Prag: Sp Acts: felicity conditions

 The link b/w utterances & people, things, places, & times that are being referred to

Pragmatics: reference

 The link b/w utterances & people, things, places, & times that are being referred to  Different from sense -it is not what is inherently assoc’d with linguistic forms

Pragmatics: reference

 The link b/w utterances & people, things, places, & times that are being referred to  Different from sense -it is not what is inherently assoc’d with linguistic forms  Words don’t refer, our usage of them does ◦ E.g. NP tokens refer

Pragmatics: reference

 All languages have wds/morphs we use to help pin down reference ◦ Proper nouns  Noam Chomsky

Pragmatics: reference

 All languages have wds/morphs we use to help pin down reference ◦ ◦ Proper nouns  Noam Chomsky Articles  The, a/an

Pragmatics: reference

 All languages have wds/morphs we use to help pin down reference ◦ ◦ ◦ Proper nouns  Noam Chomsky Articles  The, a/an Deictics  Pronouns, demonstratives, space & time adverbs

Pragmatics: reference

 Deictics ◦ Identify things by relating them to the social, linguistic, spatial, or temporal context of an utterance ◦ Their reference varies with each utterance

Pragmatics: reference

  Deictics ◦ Identify things by relating them to the social, linguistic, spatial, or temporal context of an utterance ◦ Their reference varies with each utterance Pron: I, you, s/he, we…

Pragmatics: reference

    Deictics ◦ Identify things by relating them to the social, linguistic, spatial, or temporal context of an utterance ◦ Their reference varies with each utterance Pron: I, you, s/he, we… Demon: this,that (spatial deixis) Adv: here,there (spatial deixis)

Pragmatics: reference

     Deictics ◦ Identify things by relating them to the social, linguistic, spatial, or temporal context of an utterance ◦ Their reference varies with each utterance Pron: I, you, s/he, we… Demon: this,that (spatial deixis) Adv: here,there (spatial deixis) Today, tomorrow, now, then (temp deixis)

Pragmatics: reference

 Caveat: ◦ The above deictics, though specifying referents, also have senses.

Pragmatics: reference

 Caveat: ◦ ◦ The above deictics, though specifying referents, also have senses. E.g. pronouns are ‘encoded’ for person, number, case, gender.

Pragmatics: reference

 Caveat: ◦ ◦ ◦ The above deictics, though specifying referents, also have senses. E.g. pronouns are ‘encoded’ for person, number, case, gender.

Yet their full mng comes only when uttered  ‘he’ then takes on the mng of ‘that guy’

Pragmatics: reference

 A principle of interpretation & inferencing shared by spkrs & hearers, permitting the utterance mng intended by a spkr to be reliably inferred by the hearer

Pragmatics: The coop princ .

 This interpretive procedure is constituted by four component maxims: ◦ Quantity: make your contribution as informative as req’d (non more or less)

Pragmatics: The coop princ.

 This interpretive procedure is constituted by four component maxims: ◦ Quantity: make your contribution as informative as req’d (non more or less) ◦ Quality: don’t lie

Pragmatics: The coop princ.

 This interpretive procedure is constituted by four component maxims: ◦ Quantity: make your contribution as informative as req’d (non more or less) ◦ Quality: don’t lie ◦ Relevance: don’t be irrelevant

Pragmatics: The coop princ.

 This interpretive procedure is constituted by four component maxims: ◦ Quantity: make your contribution as informative as req’d (non more or less) ◦ Quality: don’t lie ◦ ◦ Relevance: don’t be irrelevant Manner: be perspicuous – avoid ambiguity, prolixity, disorderliness & obscurity

Pragmatics: The coop princ.

 These are principles governing the inferences we draw – they’re not rules

Pragmatics: The coop princ.

 These are principles governing the inferences we draw – they’re not rules  When we flout these grammar rules) maxims , we do so to achieve an end (& thus they differ from

Pragmatics: The coop princ.

 These are principles governing the inferences we draw – they’re not rules  When we flout these maxims, we do so to achieve an end (& thus they differ from grammar rules)  We don’t break grammar rules for effect

Pragmatics: The coop princ.

  Q. Are you ready?

A. Is the pope Catholic?

Pragmatics: The coop princ.

  Q. Are you ready?

A. Is the pope Catholic?

A Y/N Q is interpreted as a response to it Maxim of Relevance = the Answer shd be relevant

Pragmatics: The coop princ.

  Q. Are you ready?

A. Is the pope Catholic?

A Y/N Q is interpreted as a response to it Maxim of Relevance = the Answer shd be relevant  Thus against all odds, such Q&A succeeds due to aspects of the cooperative principle

Pragmatics: The coop princ.

 Implicit assumptions invoked by certain sentences as required truths in order for utterance of the sentence to be appropriate or reasonable  6-13  6-16 (p 147)  Allows more efficient discourse

Pragmatics: presuppositions

Pragmatics: presuppositions