Standardization Revisited

How to delimit semantics is an ongoing problem in linguistics and philosophy of language. Like syntax, semantics is concerned only with information that competent speakers can glean from linguistic items apart from particular contexts of utterance. Anything a hearer infers from collateral information about the context of a particular utterance thus counts as nonsemantic information. Even so, it is a semantic fact about certain linguistic items, notably indexicals (such as 'she', 'here', and 'then'), that contextual facts contribute to determining what they are used to refer to. Although it is arguable that indexical reference is not, in general, a strict function of context (Bach 1987, pp. 175-186), contextual sensitivity is a linguistically marked feature of indexicals. So the context sensitivity of an expression is not itself a contextual fact about that expression. On the other hand, there are certain context-independent facts about expressions that are not matters of linguistic meaning. This is where standardization comes in. What is standardization? A form of words is standardized for a certain use if this use, though regularized, goes beyond literal meaning and yet can be explained without special conventions. In each case, there is a certain core of linguistic meaning attributable on compositional grounds but a common use that cannot be explained in terms of linguistic meaning alone. The familiarity of the form of words, together with a familiar inference route from their literal..
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