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.
This article describes the different types of temporal adverbial, interactions of adverbials and tense, and tense and adverbials in subordinate clauses. From a morphosyntactic view, there are six different types of temporal adverbial: an adverbial composed of a noun phrase (NP) and an adposition; an NP functioning as an adverbial; sentential; a temporal adverbial clause; and based on adverbs and adjectives, respectively. This morphosyntactic classification is not coextensive with a semantic classification. The article uses a fourfold semantic classification—positional adverbials, quantificational adverbials, adverbials of duration, and Extended-Now adverbials—that more or less follows the traditional ones (except for Extended-Now adverbials, which is a novel category).
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.
This chapter presents the semantics and pragmatics of prosodic focus in alternative semantics. Half a dozen examples are given of empirical phenomena that are to be covered by the theory. Then a syntax marking the locus, scope, and antecedent for focus is introduced. The syntax is interpreted semantically and pragmatically by a presupposition involving alternatives. The alternative sets that are used in the definition are computed compositionally using a recursive definition. Alternatives are also employed in the semantics of questions, and this ties in with the phenomenon of question-answer congruence, where the position of focus in an answer matches questioned positions in the question. A different semantic interpretation for focus is entailment semantics, which uses a generalized entailment condition in place of a condition involving alternatives. The semantic and pragmatic interpretation for contrastive topic uses an additional layer of alternatives. Independent of focus, alternatives are deployed in the semantics of disjunction and of negative polarity items.
This article deals with the semantic analysis of the notion of modality, surveying the most important traditional views in linguistics. After pointing out the problems encountered in the literature in trying to define the category, it first discusses the in the literature most common basic types of modality, namely, dynamic modality, deontic modality, and epistemic modality, as well as the less common basic category of boulomaic modality. It then goes on to survey a variety of alternative views on how the semantic domain of modality may be organized. The article also considers the types of criteria that have been proposed to motivate the “cover category” of modality. Finally, it outlines a few features and properties frequently referenced in the literature on modality as characteristic of (some of) the modal categories, including subjectivity vs objectivity or intersubjectivity, performativity vs descriptivity, informational status, and the semantic scope of qualificational dimensions.
This article examines the semantics of “mood”, both in the sense of the opposition among clause types, that is, “sentential/sentence moods,” or “sentential forces”, and in the sense of the distinction between realis and irrealis, or indicative and subjunctive. It begins by considering the most important sentence moods, namely, declaratives, imperatives, interrogatives, exclamatives and optatives. It then discusses the notions of realis and irrealis or indicative and subjunctive. It concludes by underscoring the importance of a study of interpretive effects in elucidating the interaction between semantics and pragmatics, since the semantics of mood appears to depend on a set of contextual clues which arise from different sources and provide non-conceptual input to the pragmatic process of utterance interpretation.
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.
Stanley H. Brandes
The anthropological approach to taboo words and language begins with an understanding and acceptance of cultural relativity. Anthropologists are keenly aware that everyday speech that might be perfectly decorous in one society is often laughable or, in extreme cases, scandalous in another. Anthropologists also identify taboo words and language by popular responses to their utterance. According to anthropological definitions, tabooed behavior—be it verbal or otherwise—must be negatively sanctioned. Sometimes sanctions take the form of public rebuke. At other times they are expressed through collective scorn or ostracism. This essay explores these ideas with ethnographic examples chosen from the closely related fields of cultural anthropology and folklore. Supporting material comes from a variety of societies located in sub-Saharan Africa, Europe, Latin America, and—within the United States—Native America and African America. The author analyses nicknaming, verbal dueling, and various types of joking relationships, among other speech forms, as anthropologically prominent forms of tabooed language.
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.
Barry J. Conn
This article illustrates the requirement of plants and their association with people. Since plants are a very important part of the material and cultural heritage of all communities, those who are interested in studying the culture of a people require an understanding of the plants associated with them. To understand plants and their association with the people, it is important to know the identity of the plant species used by them. Knowing the vernacular name of a plant used by a community assists with communication within that community but fails to provide information to a broader group. Furthermore, the information on how this plant is used by other communities remains inaccessible to most researchers. Therefore, it is important to link local plants to their scientific names so that all the information about these plants is available to everyone. However, the identification of plants is often quite difficult and requires careful examination of the features of the plant and comparison with other previously identified species. Therefore, carefully prepared botanical collections are always required to identify plants with certainty. The study provides a brief introduction to the techniques used for collecting botanical specimens that will enable fieldworkers to provide specimens of plants that are adequate for identification and valuable for scientific study.