Pragmatic Apparatus – Pragmatics as an interdisciplinary field

Cited by Lee Sonogan


Abstract by Marina Terkourafi

This short article takes up the question: How do we derive meaning from others’ utterances? Within linguistic pragmatics, a first reply to this question was provided by Grice’s account of non-natural meaning and his theory of conversational implicature. However, the question Grice was addressing was slightly different, namely: How do speakers mean? To account for how we derive meaning from others’ utterances, we need to look beyond non-natural meaning and beyond implicature. To do this, I first distinguish between broad and narrow inference and subsequently between (narrow) inference and implicature. I then consider four limitations of an intention-based approach to linguistic meaning: a) empirically, speaker intentions cannot be observed directly; b) formally, languages offer speakers tools to increase or decrease their accountability for implicated meanings; c) cross-culturally, speakers’ intentions are variably heeded as a source of meaning; d) socially, aspects of a speaker’s utterance that are not communicative can still trigger inferences. I conclude that a speaker’s utterance can encode, implicate, or simply ‘give off’ meanings and that theories of meaning should account for all these types of meaning, since they are all occasioned by the speaker’s use of language.

Publication: Journal Of Pragmatic (Peer-Reviewed Journal)

Pub Date: Jul, 2021 Doi:

Keywords: Non-natural meaningSpeaker intentionAccountabilitySocial meaningInferenceOstensive stimuli (Plenty more sections and references in this research article)

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