David Beaver and Henk Zeevat
This article explores the complex and intricate problem of accommodation, which sits right at the linguistic interface between semantics and pragmatics. Accommodation is an inferential process that is subject to pragmatic constraints. A discussion of the different contexts in which accommodation can take place and the pragmatic principles that select between those contexts is presented. The article also addresses a puzzle on missing accommodation. It then outlines the data and some lines of explanation for Lewisian accommodation. The article finally draws some general conclusions about progress that has been made in understanding accommodation, its significance for the study of presupposition and other phenomena, and considers what remains to be done. The theory of accommodation has become far more nuanced than Lewis's original conception.
Stanka A. Fitneva
How do children learn the evidential system of their language? The primary goal of this chapter is to summarize existing research on this topic. Its secondary goal is to position this research within a broader framework of investigating language development focusing on the learner, the target language, and the environment as key explanatory factors. The chapter reviews both observational and experimental studies, the latter exploring the production and comprehension of evidentials as well as their use in assessing the reliability of information. This research provides insight primarily into the contributions of cognitive processes to children’s learning of evidentials. The data, however, also hint at how the environment, in particular socialization processes, could help children break the code of evidentials, suggesting that this may be the next frontier of research in the area.
The chapter interprets grammar (morpho-syntax) as an adaptive product of human evolution. It situates grammar within the rise of the two mega-functions of human language: cognitive representation and communication. It then points out that grammar is not primarily about representation, be it lexical or propositional, but rather about communication. Within such an adaptive framework, the article suggests that the communicative function of grammar easily translates into classical Gricean terms; that is, the speaker's ever-shifting mental representation, during ongoing communication, of their interlocutor's ever-shifting deontic (intentional) and epistemic (belief) states. Grammar is thus a structured, highly automated mechanism for representing and manipulating the mind of the other during ongoing communication. The chapter, lastly, situates the evolution of grammar within the adaptive ecological context of early communication
This chapter covers examples of naming practices for aircraft types as well as for individual airframes, focusing on heavier-than-air aircraft, in other words machines intended to move through the air by generating aerodynamic or powered lift. The history of approaches to naming British military aircraft types is examined in particular detail, revealing efforts to name aircraft with more than just alphanumeric designations, while also exploring former umbrella nomenclature systems involving many manufacturers. US military aircraft Mission Design Series designation systems are explained briefly, as are systems of reporting names used during World War II and the Cold War. Civil aircraft naming practices are then illustrated with the example of the Boeing Company’s 700-series of airliners, before examining the intricacies of aircraft naming in international development projects. Finally, examples are given of names and nicknames for individual machines.
Few topics in the theory of language are as closely related to legal interpretation as the linguistic indeterminacy associated with ambiguity and vagueness. Significant portions of the institutional legal system, especially courts at the appellate level and supreme courts, are for the most part concerned not with disentangling the facts of cases but with the indeterminacies of the law. In a colloquial sense, both vagueness and ambiguity are employed generically to indicate indeterminacy. This is the sense in which vagueness is understood in the ‘void for vagueness’ doctrine, according to which a statute is considered void if it is framed in terms so indeterminate that its meaning can only be guessed at. Vagueness may relate to individuation or classification. There are at least four different vantage points from which to address the problems caused by vagueness: logic, ontology, epistemology, and semantics. This article explores ambiguity and vagueness in legal interpretation, and discusses other forms of indeterminacy, kinds of vagueness, and vagueness and the rule of law.
This chapter discusses the names of domestic animals from both a diachronic and a synchronic point of view. The focus is on the names of production animals and of companion animals in several European countries from the eighteenth century until the present day, but some information is also included on African and Arctic name-giving. The development and changes in name pools for different species are related to changes in agriculture and in the views on human–animal relations. The divide between today’s animals in food factories is related to the anthropomorphic treatment of dogs and cats. The differences between male and female animal names are also discussed.
This article deals essentially with two topics. The first is rhetoric, as one of the two sectors of the basic core of the Arabic linguistic tradition. Since the tradition was not definitively constructed until the postclassical period, Qazwīnī’s Talkhīs (d. 739/1338) is used—the most famous “epitome” of the rhetorical part of Sakkākī’s Miftāħ al-‘Ulūm, which itself is based on the two works of Abd al-Qāhir al-Jurjānī (d. 471/1078), Asrār al-‘Arabiyya and Dalā’il al-’I‘jāz. The second is the intersections of rhetoric with the other sectors of this tradition: linguistics proper, namely, grammar; and not linguistics proper, namely, the theologico-juridical sciences.
The study of astronomical naming practices sits at the intersection of astronomy and onomastics, and reveals much about scientific and general culture in both the historical background of, and the complex modern conventions for, naming of these phenomena. Stars, points of light against the night sky, were first given names as part of constellations, the grouping of stars into recognizable patterns, themselves given names based on what these patterns resembled. This chapter overviews the naming practices associated in the past and the present with a range of astronomical phenomena, linking them to the cultures and worldviews of both times. It focuses on constellation names, star names, and planet names, and discusses both historical patterns and ongoing trends.
Jacob L. Mey
Pragmatics, the youngest linguistic discipline, has a venerable past: all the way from the Greek sophists through the medieval nominalists and nineteenth-century pragmatic thinkers to today’s workers in various sub-disciplines of linguistics, sociology, psychology, literary research, and other branches of the humanities and social sciences. In the chapter, a line is drawn connecting these historical tendencies, converging in the contemporary interest in pragmatics as the science of linguistic social behavior in various situational and institutional contexts. Attention is paid to predecessors, both immediate and remote, as well as to the man protagonists on today’s pragmatic scene, and how they interact with the neighboring disciplines, especially under a societal perspective. In particular, it is shown how the classical theory of speech acts is in need of being revised and extended in various directions, such as relevance theory, the theory of pragmatic acts, the study of cooperation in interaction, and more.
This chapter presents bynaming systems in the North and West Germanic areas. The terms byname and nickname are classified, with the former being used here as an inclusive term, and the latter being treated as a term for a sub-category. The chapter also discusses other terms used within the category of personal bynames. Some problems associated with the semantic demarcation of the category are outlined, followed by an investigation of the semantics of bynames. The semantic categories principally represented are: home district, birthplace, and residence; family and social function; physical and mental characteristics; and characteristic incidents, habits, and ways of expressing oneself. Bynames are normally secondary formations, i.e. they are mostly formed from existing words, including nouns and adjectives. However, there are also primary byname formations.