A Gricean Theory of Malaprops

Mind and Language 32 (4):446-462 (2017)
Authors
Elmar Unnsteinsson
University College Dublin
Abstract
Gricean intentionalists hold that what a speaker says and means by a linguistic utterance is determined by the speaker's communicative intention. On this view, one cannot really say anything without meaning it as well. Conventionalists argue, however, that malapropisms provide powerful counterexamples to this claim. I present two arguments against the conventionalist and sketch a new Gricean theory of speech errors, called the misarticulation theory. On this view, malapropisms are understood as a special case of mispronunciation. I argue that the Gricean theory is supported by empirical work in phonetics and phonology and, also, that conventionalism inevitably fails to do this work justice. I conclude, from this, that the conventionalist fails to show that malapropisms constitute a counterexample to a Gricean theory.
Keywords Intentionalism  Grice  malapropism  pragmatics  semantics  speech errors  Donald Davidson  reference  meaning  saying
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DOI 10.1111/mila.12149
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References found in this work BETA

Speaker Intentions in Context.Jeffrey C. King - 2014 - Noûs 48 (2):219-237.
Speaker's Reference and Semantic Reference.Saul Kripke - 2013 - In Maite Ezcurdia & Robert J. Stainton (eds.), The Semantics-Pragmatics Boundary in Philosophy. Broadview Press. pp. 60.
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Speech Acts: An Essay in the Philosophy of Language.John R. Searle - 1969 - Philosophical Quarterly 20 (79):172-179.
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Citations of this work BETA

Silencing Without Convention.Elmar Unnsteinsson - forthcoming - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly.
The Edenic Theory of Reference.Elmar Unnsteinsson - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy:1-33.
Referential Intentions: A Response to Buchanan and Peet.Elmar Unnsteinsson - 2018 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 96 (3):610-615.

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