Authors
Abstract
This article surveys the state of the art in the field of semantic universals. We examine potential semantic universals in three areas: (i) the lexicon, (ii) semantic “glue” (functional morphemes and composition principles), and (iii) pragmatics. At the level of the lexicon, we find remarkably few convincing semantic universals. At the level of functional morphemes and composition principles, we discuss a number of promising constraints, most of which require further empirical testing and/or refinement. In the realm of pragmatics, we predict that Gricean mechanisms are universal, but suggest that the precise nature of presuppositions may be subject to cross-linguistic variation. Finally, we follow E.L. Keenan in concluding that the overarching universal of effability or translatability between languages cannot be upheld in its strongest form. A recurring theme throughout this survey is how much work still remains to be done in the relatively young field of cross-linguistic formal semantics.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 59,827
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Demonstratives: An Essay on the Semantics, Logic, Metaphysics and Epistemology of Demonstratives and Other Indexicals.David Kaplan - 1989 - In Joseph Almog, John Perry & Howard Wettstein (eds.), Themes From Kaplan. Oxford University Press. pp. 481-563.
Logic and Conversation.H. Paul Grice - 1975 - In Maite Ezcurdia & Robert J. Stainton (eds.), The Semantics-Pragmatics Boundary in Philosophy. Broadview Press. pp. 47.

View all 80 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Factive and Nonfactive Mental State Attribution.Jennifer Nagel - 2017 - Mind and Language 32 (5):525-544.

View all 22 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

The Problem of Universals.Charles Landesman - 1971 - New York: Basic Books.
Towards a Theory of Communicative Competence.Jürgen Habermas - 1970 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 13 (1-4):360-375.
Three Trope Theories.Paweł Rojek - 2008 - Axiomathes 18 (3):359-377.
Semantic Theory.Ruth M. Kempson - 1977 - Cambridge University Press.
An Empirical Hypothesis About Natural Semantics.Geoffrey Sampson - 1976 - Journal of Philosophical Logic 5 (2):209 - 236.
Semantics: Primes and Universals.Anna Wierzbicka - 1996 - Oxford University Press.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2009-01-28

Total views
64 ( #161,214 of 2,432,741 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #464,144 of 2,432,741 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes