I argue that free indirect discourse should be analyzed as a species of direct discourse rather than indirect discourse. More specifically, I argue against the emerging consensus among semanticists, who analyze it in terms of context shifting. Instead, I apply the semantic mechanisms of mixed quotation and unquotation to offer an alternative analysis where free indirect discourse is essentially a quotation of an utterance or thought, but with unquoted tenses and pronouns.
Analyses of quotation have assumed that quotations are referring expressions while disagreeing over details. That assumption is unnecessary and unacceptable in its implications. It entails a quasi-Parmenidean impossibility of meaningfully denying the meaningfulness or referential function of anything uttered, for it implies that: 'Kqxf' is not a meaningful expression 'The' is not a referring expression are, if meaningful, false. It also implies that ill formed constructions like: 'The' is 'the' are well formed tautologies. Such sentences make apparent the need (...) for what is commonly explicit, a genuine referring expression, a noun phrase, usually a description, to which the quotation is appositional. A quotation is not itself a word, though it may contain such. The markers signal that the enquoted material is like a sentence-embedded color patch, material displayed to facilitate reference to something identifiable by/with it specified by the noun phrase it subserves. (shrink)
Starting from the familiar observation that no straightforward treatment of pure quotation can be compositional in the standard (homomorphism) sense, we introduce general compositionality, which can be described as compositionality that takes linguistic context into account. A formal notion of linguistic context type is developed, allowing the context type of a complex expression to be distinct from those of its constituents. We formulate natural conditions under which an ordinary meaning assignment can be non-trivially extended to one that is sensitive (...) to context types and satisfies general compositionality. As our main example we work out a Fregean treatment of pure quotation, but we also indicate that the method applies to other kinds of context, e.g. intensional contexts. (shrink)
It appears that in mixed quotations like the following, the quoted expression is used and mentioned at the same time: (1) George says Tony is his ``bestest friend''. Most theories seek to account for this observation by assuming that mixed quotations operate at two levels of content at once. In contradistinction to such two-dimensional theories, we propose that quotation involves just a single level of content. Quotation always produces a change in meaning of the quoted expression, and if (...) the quotation is mixed the shift is, to a first approximation at least, from '...' to ``what x calls '...''', where x is a variable whose value is determined by the context. We argue that quotation is generally context dependent in various ways, and that some of these ways are presuppositional in nature; we present a detailed analysis of the presuppositions in question. (shrink)
The phenomenon of mixed quotation exhibits clear signs of both the apparent transparency of compositional language use and the opacity of pure quotation. I argue that the interpretation of a mixed quotation in- volves the resolution of a metalinguistic presupposition. The leading idea behind my proposal is that a mixed-quoted expression, say, “has an anomalous feature”, means what x referred to with the words ‘has an anomalous feature’. To understand how this solves the paradox, I set up (...) a precise grammatical framework, explicitly connecting various levels of linguistic analysis: phonological forms, categorial syntax, and a dynamic picture of the semantics–pragmatics interface. In this framework I formalize and evaluate a presuppositional account of mixed quotation. Finally, I address the phenomenon of unquotation and argue that it is an essential ingredient for empirically adequate analysis of mixed quotation in natural language. (shrink)
Sometimes form-meaning mappings in language are not arbitrary, but iconic: they depict what they represent. Incorporating iconic elements of language into a compositional semantics faces a number of challenges in formal frameworks as evidenced by the lengthy literature in linguistics and philosophy on quotation/direct speech, which iconically portrays the words of another in the form that they were used. This paper compares the well-studied type of iconicity found with verbs of quotation with another form of iconicity common in (...) sign languages: classifier predicates. I argue that these two types of verbal iconicity can, and should, incorporate their iconic elements in the same way using event modification via the notion of a context dependent demonstration. This unified formal account of quotation and classifier predicates predicts that a language might use the same strategy for conveying both, and I argue that this is the case with role shift in American Sign Language. Role shift is used to report others’ language and thoughts as well as their actions, and recently has been argued to provide evidence in favor of Kaplanian “monstrous” indexical expressions. By reimagining role shift as involving either quotation for language demonstrations or “body classifier” predicates for action demonstrations, the proposed account eliminates one major argument for these monsters coming from sign languages. Throughout this paper, sign languages provide a fruitful perspective for studying quotation and other forms of iconicity in natural language due to their lack of a commonly used writing system which is otherwise often mistaken as primary data instead of speech, the rich existing literature on iconicity within sign language linguistics, and the ability of role shift to overtly mark the scope of a language report. In this view, written language is merely a special case of a more general phenomenon of sign and speech demonstration, which accounts more accurately for natural language data by permitting more strict or loose verbatim interpretations of demonstrations through the context dependent pragmatics. (shrink)
Pure quotation, as in ‘cat’ has three letters, is a linguistic device designed for referring to linguistic expressions. I present a uniform recon struction of the four classic philosophical accounts of the phenomenon: the proper name theory, the description theory, the demonstrative theory, and the disquotational theory. I evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of each proposal with respect to fundamental semantic properties like compositionality, productivity, and recursivity.
The issues addressed in philosophical papers on quotation generally concern only a particular type of quotation, which I call ‘closed quotation’. The other main type, ‘open quotation’, is ignored, and this neglect leads to bad theorizing. Not only is a general theory of quotation out of reach: the specific phenomenon of closed quotation itself cannot be properly understood if it is not appropriately situated within the kind to which it belongs. Once the distinction between (...) open and closed quotation has been drawn and properly appreciated, it is tempting to consider that only closed quotation is relevant to semantics. Open quotation is more a matter of pragmatics: it is a matter of what people do with words, rather than a matter of content and truth-conditions. In this way one can provide the beginning of a justification for the neglect of open quotation in current semantic theorizing. There is some truth in this view, yet the phenomenon of ‘mixed quotation’, investigated at length in this paper, is interesting precisely because it shows that things are not so simple. Important issues concerning the interface between semantics and pragmatics will thus be raised. (shrink)
Quotation exhibits characteristics of both use and mention. I argue against the recently popular pragmatic reductions of quotation to mere language use (Recanati 2001), and in favor of a truly hybrid account synthesizing and extending Potts (2007) and Geurts and Maier (2005), using a mention logic and a dynamic semantics with presupposition to establish a context-driven meaning shift. The main advantages are an account of error neutralization and shifted indexicality under quotation. The current paper addresses the problematic (...) data involving quoted non-constituents. (shrink)
Mixed quotation exhibits characteristics of both mention and use. Some even go so far as to claim it can be described wholly in terms of the pragmatics of language use. Thus, it may be argued that the observed shifting of indexicals under all quotation shows that a monstrous operator is involved. I will argue the opposite: a proper semantic account of quotation can be used to exorcize Schlenker's monsters from semantic theory.
Most existing theories of quotation are restricted, sometimes implicitly, to certain aspects of quotation mark usage. In this paper, we have the somewhat ambitious aim of outlining an all-encompassing theory of quotation in (written) natural language. We first provide a naïve but neutral definition of quotation – quotation is everything between a pair of quotation marks – followed by a brief typology. Then, we develop an account of quotation which relies mainly on pragmatic (...) mechanisms in order to explain what role quotation marks play in achieving communicative ends of writers. Quotation marks, we argue, are best understood as minimal pragmatic markers that block the stereotypical interpretation of the expression they enclose. They thereby indicate that some alternative interpretation ought to be inferred. We then address some worries about our view in order to clarify the aim and scope of our proposal as well as some deep-rooted philosophical preconceptions about quotation. Finally, we present the results of a small corpus study which we consider a confirmation of the predictions our account makes. (shrink)
The name theory has largely been discarded in the literature on quotation. In this paper, I resurrect the theory under the heading of the natural name theory. According to the natural name theory, a pure quotation is a natural, rather than an arbitrary, name of a linguistic item. As with other natural names, like onomatopoeia, pure quotations resemble their referents. I argue that this observation allows us to deflate the arguments traditionally thought to undermine the name theory. Then (...) I argue for the “multiplicity thesis,” that pure quotations name a wide variety of linguistic items, such as expression types, graphemes, spellings, phonemes, pronunciations, meanings, and senses. Then I show that while the natural name theory easily accommodates the multiplicity thesis, none of the major, viable alternatives to it likewise do. (shrink)
Quotation has been much studied in philosophy. Given that quotation allows one to diagonalize out of any grammar, there have been comparatively few attempts within the linguistic literature to develop an account within a formal linguistic theory. Nonetheless, given the ubiquity of quotation in natural language, linguists need to explicate the formal mechanisms it employs. The central claim of this paper is that once one assumes a dialogical perspective on language such as provided by the KoS (KoS (...) is not an acronym, despite emphasizing a Konversationally Oriented Semantics) framework, formalized in a rich type theory like Type Theory with Records, much of the mystery evaporates. In particular, one can utilize as denotations for quotative constructions entities that are independently motivated for dialogue processing—utterance types and locutionary propositions, Austinian propositions about speech events. (shrink)
The issues addressed in philosophical papers on quotation generally concern only a particular type of quotation, which I call 'closed quotation'. The other main type, 'open quotation', is ignored, and this neglect leads to bad theorizing. Not only is a general theory of quotation out of reach: the specific phenomenon of closed quotation itself cannot be properly understood if it is not appropriately situated within the kind to which it belongs. Once the distinction between (...) open and closed quotation has been drawn and properly appreciated, it is tempting to consider that only closed quotation is relevant to semantics. Open quotation is more a matter of pragmatics: it is a matter of what people do with words, rather than a matter of content and truth-conditions. In this way one can provide the beginning of a justification for the neglect of open quotation in current semantic theorizing. There is some truth in this view, yet the phenomenon of 'mixed quotation', investigated at length in this paper, is interesting precisely because it shows that things are not so simple. Important issues concerning the interface between semantics and pragmatics will thus be raised. (shrink)
Understanding quotation is fundamental to understanding the nature of truth and meaning. Quotation, however, is a remarkably complicated phenomenon, and a vigorous literature on the topic has been growing at an increasing rate.§1 To give you a sense of this work, §1 enlarges upon the significance of studying quotation; §2 presents a rudimentary taxonomy of quotation; and §3 critically surveys theories of how quotation works.
The main aim of this paper is to point out that Davidsonian and Fregean theories of quotation do not accommodate certain facts about disquotation. A second aim is to dispel some errors of interpretation in a common Davidsonian reading of Tarski's claims about quotation. This allows a correct exegesis of Tarski's view, which is then seen not to be affected by the arguments usually adduced against the view wrongly attributed to Tarski. Finally, a Tarskian view is proposed of (...) some problems about quotation not addressed by Tarski. (shrink)
In a paper published recently in the Journal of Philosophy, Mario Gómez-Torrente provides a methodological argument for the “disquotational,” Tarski-inspired theory of pure quotation. Gómez-Torrente’s previous work has greatly contributed to making this theory perhaps the most widely supported view of pure quotation in recent years, against all other theories including the Davidsonian, demonstrative view for which I myself have argued. Gómez-Torrente argues that rival views make quotation “an eccentric or anomalous phenomenon.” I aim to turn the (...) methodological tables. I reply to his objections to my own version of a demonstrative account, and I show that disquotational proposals provide no better account of the data. I also show that, unlike the demonstrative account, disquotational views make an ungrounded distinction between quotations that semantically refer to their intuitive referents and others that merely speaker-refer to them. I conclude that the demonstrative account is to be preferred on abductive grounds. (shrink)
Quote marks, I claim, serve to select from the multiple ostensions that are produced whenever any expression is uttered; they act to constrain pragmatic ambiguity or indeterminacy. My argument proceeds by showing that the proffered account fares better than its rivals-the Name, Description, Demonstrative, and Identity Theories. Along the way I shall need to explain and emphasize that quoting is not simply the same thing as mentioning. Quoting, but not mentioning, relies on the use of conventional devices.
In his paper “Quotation”, Donald Davidson contrasts three theories about how quotation marks do their work, that is, about how tokens like this one: "sheep” refer to the type of which the following is a token: sheep. He rejects the “proper name” and “spelling” theories, and propounds and defends a new account of quotation which he calls the “demonstrative theory”. I shall argue that the truth about how quotation works has points of resemblance with both the (...) spelling and demonstrative theories, though it is not a mere combination of elements from those two. It is closer to Davidson’s theory than to the other, and I have reached it by developing the pioneering start that he provided. (shrink)
I argue that indirect quotation in the first person simple present tense (self-quotation) provides a class of infallible assertions. The defense of this conclusion examines the joint descriptive and constitutive functions of performative utterances and argues that a parallel treatment of belief ascription is in order. The parallel account yields a class of infallible belief ascriptions that makes no appeal to privileged modes of access. Confronting a dilemma formulated by Crispin Wright for theories of self-knowledge gives an epistemological (...) setting for the account of infallible belief ascription. (shrink)
In "Demonstratives or Demonstrations", Marga Reimer argues that quotation marks are demonstrations and that expressions enclosed with them are demonstratives. In this paper, I argue against her view. There are two objections. The first objection is that Reimer''s view has unattractive consequences: there is more ambiguity, there are more demonstratives, and there are more English expressions than we thought. The second objection is that, unlike other ambiguous expressions, some expressions that are ambiguous on Reimer''s view can''t be disambiguated by (...) using subscripts. This suggests that, contrary to her view, those expressions aren't really ambiguous. (shrink)
This paper — a sequel to my 'Open Quotation' (Mind 2001) — is my reaction to the articles discussing open quotation in the special issue of the Belgian Journal of Linguistics edited by P. De Brabanter in 2005.
Starting with Frege, the semantics (and pragmatics) of quotation has received a steady flow of attention over the last one hundred years. It has not, however, been subject to the same kind of intense debate and scrutiny as, for example, both the semantics of definite descriptions and propositional attitude verbs. Many philosophers probably share Davidson's experience: ‘When I was initiated into the mysteries of logic and semantics, quotation was usually introduced as a somewhat shady device, and the introduction (...) was accompanied by a stern sermon on the sin of confusing the use and mention of expressions’ (Davidson 1979, p. 79). Those who leave it at that, however, miss out on one of the most difficult and interesting topics in the philosophy of language. (shrink)
QUOTATION is not merely repetition, even though it involves repeating what someone else has said. Quotation is repeating something as having been stated by another. The difference is one of presentational or intentional form. There may be no difference in the words being repeated, but they are repeated differently: it is as though we no longer saw an object directly but now only in a mirror.
This essay proposes a systematic semantic account of Davidson’s demonstrative theory of pure quotation (Davidson Theory and decision, 11: 27–40, 1979) within a classic Kaplan-style framework for indexical languages (Kaplan 1977). I argue that Davidson’s informal hints must be developed in terms of the idea of ‘character-external’ aspects of meaning, that is, in terms of truth-conditionally idle restrictions on the class of contexts in which quotation marks may appropriately be used. When thus developed, Davidson’s theory may correctly take (...) into account the intuitively special status of disquotational sentences, such as “Boston’ refers to Boston’, and “‘Boston” refers to ‘Boston”, and is thus immune from the important objections recently raised in Cappelen and Lepore 2007. (shrink)
Quotation marks are ambiguous, although the conventional rules that govern their different uses are similar in that they contain quantifications over quotable expressions. Pure uses are governed by a simple rule: by enclosing any expression within quotation marks one gets a singular term, the quotation, that stands for the enclosed expression. Impure uses are far less simple. In a series of uses the quotation marks conventionally indicate that (part of) the enclosed expression is a contextually appropriate (...) version of expressions uttered by some relevant agent. When the quotation marks have this meaning, it is tempting to think of them as contributing that indication to the truth-conditional content of the utterance. I adopt a cautious attitude towards this hypothesis, for the evidence in its favor is inconclusive. In other uses the quotation marks conventionally indicate that the enclosed expression should be used not “plainly” but in some broadly speaking “distanced” way, or that it is being so used by the utterer, and typically context makes clear the exact nature of the “distance” at stake. In these cases the quotation marks do not even appear to contribute that indication to the truth-conditional content of the utterance. (shrink)
This paper discusses empty quotation (‘’ is an empty string) and lexical quotation (his praise was, quote, fulsome, unquote), it challenges the minimal theory of quotation (‘ “x” ’ quotes ‘x’) and it defends the identity theory of quotation. In the process it illuminates disciplinary differences between the science of language and the philosophy of language. First, most philosophers assume, without argument, that language includes writing, whereas linguists have reason to identify language with speech (plus sign (...) language). Second, philosophers tend to think of languages as abstract objects whereas linguists tend to think of them as natural objects. These foundational differences help to explain disagreements in grammaticality judgments and consequent disagreements in semantic theory. (shrink)
This paper presents syntactic and semantic rules for a fragment of English with mixed quotation. The fragment shows that quotation has a recursive and compositional structure. Quoted expressions turn out to denote characters, so the semantics of quotation simulates the pragmatics of speech, including dependence on utterance contexts and reference to mental entities. The analysis also accommodates varieties of unquotation, pure quotation, and causal reference.
There are at least four varieties of quotation, including pure, direct, indirect and mixed. A theory of quotation, we argue, should give a unified account of these varieties of quotation. Mixed quotes such as 'Alice said that life is 'difficult to understand'', in which an utterance is directly and indirectly quoted concurrently, is an often overlooked variety of quotation. We show that the leading theories of pure, direct, and indirect quotation are unable to account for (...) mixed quotation and therefore unable to provide a unified theory. In the second half of the paper we develop a unified theory of quotation based on Davidson's demonstrative theory. 'Language is the instrument it is because the same expression, with semantic features (meaning) unchanged, can serve countless purposes.' (Davidson 1968). (shrink)
We discuss two kinds of quotation, namely indirect quotation and pure quotation. With respect to each, we have both a negative and a positive plaint. The negative plaint is that the strict Davidsonian treatment of indirect and pure quotation cannot be correct. The positive plaint is an alternative account of how quotation of these two sorts works. /// Discutimos dos tipos de citas, a saber, citas indirectas y citas puras. Hacemos dos planteamientos, uno positivo y (...) otro negativo, con respecto a cada una. El negativo es que el tratamiento estrictamente davidsoniano de las citas indirectas y puras no puede ser correcto. El positivo consiste en dar una explicatión alternativa de cómo funcionan estos dos tipos de citas. (shrink)
This chapter argues that while quotation marks are polysemous, the thread that runs through all uses of quotation marks that involve reference to expressions is pure quotation, in which an expression formed by enclosing another expression in quotation marks refers to that enclosed expression. We defend a version of the so-called disquotational theory of pure quotation and show how this device is used in direct discourse and attitude attributions, in exposition in scholarly contexts, and in (...) so-called mixed quotation in indirect discourse and attitude attributions. We argue that uses of quotation marks that extend beyond pure quotation have two features in common. First, the expressions appearing in quotation marks are intended to be understood, and that they are intended to be understood is essential to the function that such quotations play in communication, though this does not always involve the expressions contributing their extensional properties to fixing truth conditions for the sentences in which they appear. Second, they appeal to a relation to the expression appearing in quotation marks that plays a role in determining the truth conditions of the sentences in which they appear. (shrink)
I focus on one approach to understanding quotation, the identity theory; I delineate varieties thereof; and I cite some considerations for favoring a speech-act version. Along the way we shall see how the study of quotation can illuminate the general conflict between speech-act semantics and formal semantics, and we shall see fresh arguments for insisting that the mechanism of quotation is referentially indeterminate.
This paper develops the view presented in our 1997 paper "Varieties of Quotation". In the first part of the paper we show how phenomena such as scare-quotes, echoing and mimicry can be treated as what we call Speech Act Heuristics. We then defend a semantic account of mixed quotation. Along the way we discuss the role of indexicals in mixed quotation and the noncancelability of reference to words in mixed quotation. We also respond to some objections (...) raised by Recanati, Saka, Stainton and Reimer. (shrink)
In this essay I argue for a constructivist account of the entities composing the object languages of Davidsonian truth theories and a quotational account of the reference from metalinguistic expressions to interpreted utterances. I claim that ‘radical quotation’ requires an ontology of repeatable events with strong similarities to Derrida's account of iterable events. In part one I summarise Davidson's account of interpretation and Olav Gjelsivk's arguments to the effect that the syntactic individuation of linguistic objects is only workable if (...) interpreters make richer assumptions about semantic properties than Davidson can tolerate. In part two I show that the objectivist account of syntactic objects which Gjelsivk's arguments presuppose is incompatible with one corollary of Davidsonian semantic indeterminacy: namely, the relativity of language to interpretative scheme. In place of this an account of radical interpretation is presented in which a quotational theory of metalinguistic reference furnishes the requisite relativity. In part three I argue that this account requires that particular utterance events must be repeatable to be radically quotable and give reasons why particularity and repeatability are not incompatible. (shrink)