Pragmatics

Edited by Christopher Gauker (University of Salzburg)
About this topic
Summary Topics in the philosophy of language tend to fall into two main branches, pragmatics and semantics.  Roughly, semantics deals with conventional meaning.  Theories in formal semantics for natural language attempt to pair meanings with sentence-context pairs in some systematic way.  A primary test of correctness for a semantic theory is whether it allows us to define the logical properties of sentences (such as whether one sentence logically implies another).  The term “pragmatics” covers both a part of formal semantics, so defined, and also the study of the ways in which utterances effect communication.  The first kind of pragmatic theory deals with the way in which the extensions of terms and the truth values of sentences depend on features of the situation in which the sentence is spoken.  The second kind of pragmatic theory studies the nature of speech acts, such as asserting or asking, and also the ways in which speakers manage to convey more than the conventional meaning of the sentence uttered.  It is not always clear where in this taxonomy a given phenomenon should fall.  The topic of presupposition, for instance, has been located under all of these headings.
Key works The classics of pragmatics include Austin 1962, Searle 1969, Grice 1989, Kaplan 1989, Stalnaker 1973, and Lewis 1979.  More recent contributions that have drawn considerable attention include Bach 1994, Recanati 2002, Cappelen & Lepore 2005, and Stanley & Szabó 2000
Introductions

An excellent but now somewhat dated collection of classics is Stephen Davis, ed., Pragmatics: A Reader, Oxford University Press, 1991.  For a short overview of some current issues, see Gauker 2012.

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  1. `Absolute' Adjectives in Belief Contexts.Charlie Siu - forthcoming - Linguistics and Philosophy.
    It is a consequence of both Kennedy and McNally's typology of the scale structures of gradable adjectives and Kennedy's economy principle that an object is clean just in case its degree of cleanness is maximal. So they jointly predict that the sentence `Both towels are clean, but the red one is cleaner than the blue one' is a contradiction. Surely, one can account for the sentence's assertability by saying that the first instance of `clean' is used loosely: Since `clean' pragmatically (...)
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  2. L'agencement des valeurs dans l'environnement numérique : le cas de la chaîne « Doxa ».Guilherme Adorno - 2014 - IMPEC 1:3-17.
    L’objet théorique discours acquiert sa spécificité analytique dans la confrontation avec la matérialité du numérique dans ses propres conditions de production: cela ouvre à la recherche des formes textuelles des vlogs comme technologies de langage dans la composition de différentes matérialités signifiantes. Ce travail interroge le processus du mettre en circulation cette composition matériel du vlog, qui est investi du sens de la création et il est soutenu par le mode juridique d'administration, particulièrement par les droits d’auteur. Le procédé analytique (...)
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  3. Subordinating Speech and the Construction of Social Hierarchies.Michael Randall Barnes - 2019 - Dissertation, Georgetown University
    This dissertation fits within the literature on subordinating speech and aims to demonstrate that how language subordinates is more complex than has been described by most philosophers. I argue that the harms that subordinating speech inflicts on its targets (chapter one), the type of authority that is exercised by subordinating speakers (chapters two and three), and the expansive variety of subordinating speech acts themselves (chapter three) are all under-developed subjects in need of further refinement—and, in some cases, large paradigm shifts. (...)
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  4. Multipropositionalism and Necessary a Posteriori Identity Statements.Lenny Clapp & Armando Lavalle Terrón - 2019 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 100 (4):902-934.
    We provide an account of necessary a posteriori identity statements that relies upon Perry’s multipropositionalism. On our account an utterance of, e.g., ‘Hesperus is Phosphorus’, semantically makes available several propositions, one of which is necessary (and a priori) and another of which is a posteriori (and contingent). Since our view resembles two-dimensionalism, one might assume that it is undermined by the sorts of nesting arguments that Soames and others have raised against two-dimensionalism. We demonstrate, however, that our account is immune (...)
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  5. The Pragmatics of Non-denoting Descriptions.Andrei Moldovan - 2020 - Topoi (2):413-423.
    One challenge that the proponent of the Fregean theory of definite descriptions has to meet is to account for those truth-value intuitions that do not match the predictions of her theory. What needs an explanation is why sentences such as ‘The king of France is sitting in that chair’ [pointing at an empty chair] are intuitively false, while semantically truth-valueless. The existence of such cases was pointed out by Strawson :216–231, 1954) and Russell :385–389, 1957), and much discussed in the (...)
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  6. Exact Semantics for Indicative Conditionals.Huseyin Gungor - 2017 - Dissertation,
    This thesis extends Kit Fine's truthmaker semantics for counterfactuals to indicative conditionals. First, I provide Fine's truthmaker semantics and his extension to counterfactuals. Then I introduce a notion of context state into the semantics and provide the verification-conditions for indicative conditionals by employing this notion of context state. Afterwards, I turn to the logic of indicative conditionals under exact semantics and discuss the principles and inference rules which raise disagreements between variably strict and strict conditionals accounts. The account I provide (...)
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  7. Evaluative Polarity Words in Risky Choice Framing.Annika Wallin, Carita Paradis & Katsikopoulos Konstantinos - 2016 - Journal of Pragmatics 106:20-38.
    This article is concerned with how we make decisions based on how problems are presented to us and the effect that the framing of the problem might have on our choices. Current philosophical and psychological accounts of the framing effect in experiments such as the Asian Disease Problem concern reference points and domains. We question the importance of reference points and domains. Instead, we adopt a linguistic perspective focussing on the role of the evaluative polarity evoked by the words - (...)
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  8. Mauricio Beuchot: Hermenéutica analógica / Mauricio Beuchot and his Analogical Hermeneutics.Alberto Luis López - 2007 - Kathauton 1 (1):80-84.
    Mauricio Beuchot proposed in his work Treatise of Analogical hermeneutics (1997) a new interpretative model based in the ancient concept of "analogy". As his proposal is a new hermeneutical model, I describe here some of its main arguments with the aim of analyzing and discussing his analogical method of interpretation. / Mauricio Beuchot propuso en su obra Tratado de hermenéutica analógica (1997) una nueva herramienta interpretativa basada en el antiguo concepto de 'analogía'. Su propuesta refresca los debates en torno a (...)
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  9. Meaning-Preserving Contraposition of Conditionals.Gilberto Gomes - 2019 - Journal of Pragmatics 1 (152):46-60.
    It is argued that contraposition is valid for a class of natural language conditionals, if some modifications are allowed to preserve the meaning of the original conditional. In many cases, implicit temporal indices must be considered, making a change in verb tense necessary. A suitable contrapositive for implicative counterfactual conditionals can also usually be found. In some cases, the addition of certain words is necessary to preserve meaning that is present in the original sentence and would be lost or changed (...)
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  10. Morals, Meaning and Truth in Wittgenstein and Brandom.Jordi Fairhurst - 2019 - Disputatio. Philosophical Research Bulletin 9 (8).
    The aim of this paper is twofold. Firstly, it analyses the similarities that stem from Wittgenstein’s (Philosophical Investigations (1953)) and Brandom’s (Making it Explicit (1994)) commitment to pragmatics in the philosophy of language to account for moral utterances. That is, the study of the meaning of moral utterances is carried out resorting to the study of the acts being performed in producing or exhibiting these utterances. Both authors offer, therefore, a pragmatic solution in order to account for the meaning of (...)
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  11. Model-Theoretic Semantics for Tolerance; a Critical Review of Two Recent Theories.Ali Abasnezhad - forthcoming - In Otávio Bueno (ed.), On the Sorites Paradox.
  12. Visualizar, ler e compreender o dicionário Priberam: divisões políticas da língua no limiar do linguístico e do visual.Guilherme Adorno - 2018 - Línguas E Instrumentos Linguísticos 42:98-138.
    Resumo: Esse estudo exploratório do Dicionário Priberam de Língua Portuguesa (DPLP), na sua formulação digital, parte da questão: como tal dicionário afeta a divisão política da língua a partir de sua digitalização e circulação na Internet? Trata-se de um material propício para mostrar a atualização do processo de gramatização do português no início do século XXI e para observar as singularidades do trabalho lexicográfico no espaço digital e a produção de saberes sobre a língua nesse momento histórico. O corpus é (...)
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  13. Modals Under Epistemic Tension.Guillermo Del Pinal & Brandon Waldon - 2019 - Natural Language Semantics 27 (2):135-188.
    According to Kratzer’s influential account of epistemic 'must' and 'might', these operators involve quantification over domains of possibilities determined by a modal base and an ordering source. Recently, this account has been challenged by invoking contexts of ‘epistemic tension’: i.e., cases in which an assertion that 'must p' is conjoined with the possibility that 'not p', and cases in which speakers try to downplay a previous assertion that 'must p', after finding out that 'not p'. Epistemic tensions have been invoked (...)
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  14. Patologie del linguaggio e della comunicazione.Ines Adornetti - 2018 - Roma RM, Italia: Carocci.
    Il volume, in un'ottica cognitiva, affronta il tema delle patologie del linguaggio coniugando la riflessione teorica con le più recenti evidenze empiriche provenienti dalle neuroscienze, dalla neuropsicologia e dalla psicopatologia. Tra i casi presi in esame, ampio spazio è dedicato alla discussione dei deficit comunicativi che caratterizzano patologie quali la sindrome dello spettro autistico, il trauma cranico, la schizofrenia e la demenza di Alzheimer. In casi del genere, i disturbi linguistici e comunicativi chiamano in causa la dimensione pragmatica del linguaggio (...)
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  15. Pragmatismo y pragmaticismo Condiciones semióticas para la fundamentación del conocimiento científico.Julio Horta - 2019 - In Publicaciones del Instituto de Investigaciones Sociales. Ciudad de México, CDMX, México: pp. 123-146.
    El presente artículo busca hacer una revisión del concepto de verdad como fundamento del conocimiento científico: desde el pragmatismo de William James y Jürgen Habermas hasta las nociones pragmáticas de Charles -/- Sanders Peirce, con la intención de mostrar los rasgos pertinentes -/- e insuficiencias de cada postura. De manera complementaria, se -/- buscará dar cuenta de los niveles: pragmático (semiótico-filosófico) -/- y pragmatista (psicológico), en los que funciona dicho concepto -/- dentro de la filosofía peirciana. Finalmente, tal esbozo teórico (...)
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  16. Espacio, significación y vivencia: implicaciones semióticas sobre la noción Centro Histórico.Julio Horta - 2015 - In Olimpia Niglio (ed.), edA. Roma, Italia: pp. 134-146.
    Este artículo tiene el objetivo de explorar algunas funciones semióticas que constituyen el espacio urbano. Se revisarán algunas categorías y operaciones semióticas relevantes en la comprensión del espacio para que, desde ahí, se pueda explorar el sentido de la noción Centro Histórico como un concepto fundamental en la construcción del imaginario social en las ciudades de occidente.
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  17. Historia y Semiótica. Categorías y relaciones filosóficas en la caracterización del espacio histórico.Julio Horta - 2012 - Madrid, España: Lap Lambert.
    El presente trabajo parte de un supuesto: la historia como un espacio semiotico que se edifica sobre la base de un sistema de categorias. En este sentido, los signos con los cuales se construye la realidad "ideal" de la historia se articulan en razon de correspondencias especificas determinadas por un esquema particular de relacion. Asi pues, el proposito de la este estudio es mostrar un espacio especulativo que de cuenta de las categorias de la filosofia de la historia, con las (...)
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  18. Dynamic Semantics.Karen S. Lewis - 2017 - Oxford Handbooks Online.
    This article focuses on foundational issues in dynamic and static semantics, specifically on what is conceptually at stake between the dynamic framework and the truth-conditional framework, and consequently what kinds of evidence support each framework. The article examines two questions. First, it explores the consequences of taking the proposition as central semantic notion as characteristic of static semantics, and argues that this is not as limiting in accounting for discourse dynamics as many think. Specifically, it explores what it means for (...)
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  19. The Nature of (Covert) Dogwhistles.Manuel Almagro & José Ramón Torices - 2018 - In Cristian Saborido, Sergi Oms & Javier González de Prado (eds.), Proceedings of the IX Conference of the Spanish Society of Lógic, Methodology and Philosophy of Science. Madrid, España: pp. 93-100.
    ‘Dogwhistle’ refers to a kind of political manipulation that some people carry out for political gains. According to Saul (2018), dogwhistles can be either intentional or unintentional depending on whether the speaker carried out the dogwhistle deliberately or not —although one cannot always recognize whether a particular case was intentional. In addition to being intentional or not, dogwhistles can also be overt or covert depending on whether the audience is aware or not of the dogwhistle. In the case of overt (...)
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  20. The Acquaintance Inference with 'Seem'-Reports.Rachel Etta Rudolph - 2019 - Proceedings of the Chicago Linguistics Society 54:451-460.
    Some assertions give rise to the acquaintance inference: the inference that the speaker is acquainted with some individual. Discussion of the acquaintance inference has previously focused on assertions about aesthetic matters and personal tastes (e.g. 'The cake is tasty'), but it also arises with reports about how things seem (e.g. 'Tom seems like he's cooking'). 'Seem'-reports give rise to puzzling acquaintance behavior, with no analogue in the previously-discussed domains. In particular, these reports call for a distinction between the specific acquaintance (...)
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  21. Inquiry in Conversation: Towards a Modelling in Inquisitive Pragmatics.Yacin Hamami - 2014 - Logique Et Analyse 228:637-661.
    Conversation is one of the main contexts in which we are conducting inquiries. Yet, little attention has been paid so far in pragmatics or epistemology to the process of inquiry in conversation. In this paper, we propose to trigger such an investigation through the development of a formal modelling based on inquisitive pragmatics—a framework offering a semantic representation of questions and answers, along with an analysis of the pragmatic principles that govern questioning and answering moves in conversations geared towards information (...)
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  22. The Worst and the Best of Propaganda.Bianca Cepollaro & Giuliano Torrengo - 2018 - Disputatio 1.
    In this paper we discuss two issues addressed by Stanley in How Propaganda Works: the status of slurs (Section 1) and the notion of positive propaganda (Section 2). In particular, in Section 1 we argue contra Stanley that code words like ‘welfare’ are crucially different from slurs in that the association between the lexical item and an additional social meaning is not as systematic as it is for slurs. In this sense, slurs bring about a special kind of propagandistic effect, (...)
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  23. Assessing Relevance.Fabrizio Macagno - 2018 - Lingua 210:42-64.
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  24. Perspectives on Pragmatics and Philosophy.Alessandro Capone, Franco Lo Piparo & Marco Carapezza (eds.) - 2013 - Springer.
    Alessandro Capone Franco Lo Piparo Marco Carapezza Editors Perspectives on Pragmatics and Philosophy Perspectives in Pragmatics, Philosophy & Psychology Volume 1 Editor-in-Cheif Alessandro. Perspectives in Pragmatics, Philosophy ...
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  25. What is Fake News?Romy Jaster & David Lanius - 2018 - Versus 2 (127):207-227.
    Recently, the term «fake news» has become ubiquitous in political and public discourse and the media. Despite its omnipresence, however, it is anything but clear what fake news is. An adequate and comprehensive definition of fake news is called for. We take steps towards this goal by providing a systematic account of fake news that makes the phenomenon tangible, rehabilitates the use of the term, and helps us to set fake news apart from related phenomena. (You can email us for (...)
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  26. The Dilemma Imposed on the Realist by Putnam's and Kripkensteinian Argument.Henrik Sova - 2017 - Studia Philosophica Estonica 10 (1):62-82.
    In this article, I have two aims. Firstly, I argue that Hilary Putnam's model theoretic indeterminacy argument against external realism and Saul Kripke's so-called Kripkensteinian argument against semantic realism have the same dialectical structure and the same conclusion---both force the opponent to face the same dilemma. Namely: either adopt meaning minimalism or postulate unobservable semantic facts. Secondly, I analyze more closely the first horn of the dilemma---meaning minimalism. This is the position according to which there are no truth conditions for (...)
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  27. Charles Bally and Pragmatics.Oswald Ducrot, Catherine Porter, Kara Rabbitt & Linda Waugh - 1991 - Diacritics 21 (4):2.
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  28. Antipositivist Arguments From Legal Thought and Talk: The Metalinguistic Response.David Plunkett & Tim Sundell - 2014 - In Graham Hubbs & Douglas Lind (eds.), Pragmatism, Law, and Language. Routledge. pp. 56-75.
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  29. Logical Theatrics, or Floes on Flows: Translating Quine with the Shins.Joshua M. Hall - 2016 - European Journal of Pragmatism and American Philosophy 8 (2).
    I will begin this comparative analysis with Quine, focusing on the front matter and first chapter of Word and Object (alongside From a Logical Point of View and two other short pieces), attempting to illuminate there a (1) basis of excessive, yet familiar, chaos, (2) method of improvised, dramatic distortion, and (3) consequent neo-Pragmatist metaphysics. Having elaborated this Quinian basis, method and metaphysics, I will then show that they can be productively translated into James Mercer’s poetic lyrics for The Shins, (...)
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  30. The Ironist’s Intentions: Communicative Priority and Manifestness.Eleni Kapogianni - 2016 - Pragmatics Cognition 23 (1):150-173.
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  31. The Ironist’s Intentions: Communicative Priority and Manifestness.Eleni Kapogianni - 2016 - Pragmatics Cognition 23 (1):150-173.
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  32. El problema dejado por el pragmatismo y el lenguaje entendido como fenómeno dinámico.Alfonso José Pizarro Ramírez - 2014 - Anuario de Postgrado 10:173-186.
    En una primera parte expondré la crítica pragmatista a la visión tradicional del lenguaje; luego, contrastaré las visiones dentro de las que critican a la tradición: contextualismo y contextualismo radical. En una segunda expondré el tipo de semántica que se podría sostener bajo esta concepción del lenguaje: una semántica no proposicionalista. Finalmente, quisiera proponer que, así como en las ciencias sociales el localismo metodológico plantea la emergencia de entidades colectivas (ya sean las clases o instituciones) —sin ser meramente epifenomenales, que (...)
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  33. Pragmatics, Truth and Language.R. M. MARTIN - 1979 - Linguistics and Philosophy 4 (3):453-466.
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  34. Imperative Frames and Modality: Direct Vs. Indirect Speech Acts in Russian, Danish, and English.Per Durst-Andersen - 1995 - Linguistics and Philosophy 18 (6):611-653.
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  35. Does Language Determine Our Scientific Ideas?H. G. Callaway - 1992 - Dialectica 46 (3-4):225-242.
    SummaryThis paper argues that the influence of language on science, philosophy and other field is mediated by communicative practices. Where communications is more restrictive, established linguistic structures exercise a tighter control over innovations and scientifically motivated reforms of language. The viewpoint here centers on the thesis that argumentation is crucial in the understanding and evaluation of proposed reforms and that social practices which limit argumentation serve to erode scientific objectivity. Thus, a plea is made for a sociology of scientific belief (...)
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  36. Interfacing Pragmatics.Louis deSaussure & Peter J. Schulz - 2007 - Radical Philosophy Review of Books 15 (1):3-16.
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  37. Recognizing Sarcasm Without Language: A Cross-Linguistic Study of English and Cantonese.Henry S. Cheang & Marc D. Pell - 2011 - Radical Philosophy Review of Books 19 (2):203-223.
    The goal of the present research was to determine whether certain speaker intentions conveyed through prosody in an unfamiliar language can be accurately recognized. English and Cantonese utterances expressing sarcasm, sincerity, humorous irony, or neutrality through prosody were presented to English and Cantonese listeners unfamiliar with the other language. Listeners identified the communicative intent of utterances in both languages in a crossed design. Participants successfully identified sarcasm spoken in their native language but identified sarcasm at near-chance levels in the unfamiliar (...)
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  38. Tautology as Presumptive Meaning.Jörg Meibauer - 2008 - Radical Philosophy Review of Books 16 (3):439-470.
    Ever since the seminal work of Paul Grice, tautologies such as Business is business have been discussed from a number of angles. While most approaches assume that tautological utterances have to do with the operation of conversational maxims, an integrated analysis is still lacking. This paper makes an attempt at analysing tautologies within the framework of Levinson, who proposes a distinction between three pragmatic levels, namely Indexical Pragmatics, Gricean Pragmatics 1, and Gricean Pragmatics 2. It is shown that observations of (...)
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  39. Research in Cross-Cultural Pragmatics.František Daneš - 1993 - Pragmatics and Cognition 1 (1):161-167.
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  40. Klaus-Uwe Panther and Linda L. Thornburg , Metonymy and Pragmatic Inferencing.Salvatore Attardo - 2005 - Pragmatics and Cognition 13 (2):433-438.
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  41. Jacques Moeschler and Anne Reboul, Dictionnaire Encyclopédique de Pragmatique.Michel Musiol - 1995 - Pragmatics and Cognition 3 (2):386-394.
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  42. Review of “Doing Pragmatics” by Peter Grundy. [REVIEW]Yael Ziv - 2003 - Pragmatics and Cognition 11 (1):196-202.
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  43. On Verbal Irony, Meta-Linguistic Knowledge and Echoic Interpretation.Zohar Livnat - 2004 - Pragmatics and Cognition 12 (1):57-70.
    The aim of this paper is to examine some actual examples of written verbal irony that contain apposition. Meta-linguistic knowledge about apposition as a syntactic structure is claimed to be involved in the interpretation process of the utterance and especially in recognizing the victim of the irony. This discussion demonstrates the interdependence between apposition, its echoic quality in particular cases, and the victim of the irony. Since syntactic structure may serve as a cue to indirect meaning, pointing at the specific (...)
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  44. Problems of Discourse Theory.Robert Alexy - 1988 - Critica 20 (58):43-65.
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  45. Mutual Beliefs and Communicative Success.Petr Kotatko - 2000 - Theoria: Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia 15 (3):421-433.
    The paper explores the notion of communicative success as a match between the speaker's communicative intention and the audience's interpretation. The first part argues that it cannot be generalized to all kinds of communication. The second part characterizes various types of relations between the speaker's and the audience's beliefs on which this kind of communicative success can be based. It shows that the requirements concerning agreement between these beliefs are rather modest.
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  46. Cognitive Pragmatics and Variational Pragmatics.Dunja Jutronić - 2015 - Croatian Journal of Philosophy 15 (2):233-245.
    In this paper I attempt to look into a possible way in which cognitive pragmatics can help out variational studies in explaining the processes of language change. After broadly setting the scene this article proceeds by giving basic information about variational pragmatics. Then it concentrates on Sperber and Wilson’s relevance theory and its possible interaction with social sciences, namely its possible application in sociolinguistics. I next present my own research of Split dialect/vernacular change where I concentrate on explanatory side, asking (...)
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  47. The Cognitive Pragmatics of Subtitling.Chaoqun Xie, Sheng You & Xiaoying Wu - 2014 - Pragmatics and Cognition 22 (3):402-420.
    This paper features a critical review of the bookPoliteness and Audience Response in Chinese-English Subtitling. A brief introduction of the book’s content is given first, followed by a critical appraisal on merits and loopholes in the book. Furthermore, some interdisciplinary amendments — based on House’s comprehensive politeness theory and Lakoff’s embodiment concept — are put forward to remedy the loopholes in question. It is argued that covert translation works better in subtitling for it is compatible with different social norms at (...)
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  48. Cognitive Pragmatics.Hans-Jörg Schmid (ed.) - 2012
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  49. Signs, Language, and Behavior.Max Black - 1947 - Philosophical Review 56 (2):203.
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  50. Shift of Power in David Mamet’s Oleanna: A Study Within Grice’s Cooperative Principles.Roksana Dayani & Fazel Asadi Amjad - 2016 - International Letters of Social and Humanistic Sciences 72:76-82.
    Source: Author: Roksana Dayani, Fazel Asadi Amjad This article is devoted to analyze verbal interactions in Oleanna [1993] within Grice’s Cooperative Principles [1975] in order to illustrate how the shift of power gradually takes place in the academic discourse of the play. Maxims of this principle are applied on John’s utterances in the first act on which the foundation of asymmetric relationship is laid. As expected within Grice’s framework, the breaching of maxims, besides their observation, is performed by John through (...)
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1 — 50 / 5732