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.
Bald-faced lies are utterances that seem to lack the intent of the speaker to deceive the hearer, which is usually assumed in the definition of proper lying. Therefore, the so-called non-deceptionists call the latter assumption into question. The so-called deceptionists, sticking to the traditional definition of lying, argue in turn that bald-faced lies either are no real lies or are connected to an intention to deceive. The chapter gives a concise overview of the main positions in this dispute, discusses the cases typically employed to illustrate bald-faced lies, and summarizes recent experimental findings on how ordinary speakers perceive bald-faced lies. It turns out that ordinary speakers often think that bald-faced lies are lies and that they are deceptive at the same time. This poses problems for both the deceptionists and the non-deceptionists.
The chapter focuses on bluffing and discusses the distinctions between bluffing, lying, and bullshitting. The general purpose of bluffing is to gain advantage in the interaction by manipulating the other individual’s expectations and subsequent behavior. This is a complex task, as it involves not only modeling behavior that will convince the other party something is true, but also simultaneously holding the knowledge of what is actually true. Bluffing is discussed with respect to different interactional settings, e.g., police interrogation, business negotiation, and poker playing. An important question is the morality of bluffing, e.g., whether lying is worse than bluffing.
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 provides an overview of reactions to Harry Frankfurt’s influential theory of bullshitting, addressing the four main features he ascribes to it, and considers some alternatives to Frankfurt’s account. Among others, issues raised by Thomas Carson and G. A. Cohen are examined in the discussion. A proposal to characterize bullshitting in terms of Gricean maxims is discussed, and it is argued that these views fail to capture the full range of cases. Here, works by Stokke and Don Fallis are cited. An alternative view that analyzes bullshitting in terms of the speaker’s attitudes toward the communal project of inquiry is canvassed, and the chapter ends by discussing the relation between bullshitting and lying.
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.
This chapter discusses the ways in which the affect or emotion experienced by name-givers in response to stereotypes, to aesthetics, and to past, present, and potential future events in their lives is encoded into the phonaesthetics of the names they select and assign. A phonaesthetic system based on statistical evidence and on studies of facial expression is applied to name choices. In this system, sounds such as [l], [m], and [iː] have positive and gentle emotional associations while sounds such as [k], [g], and [uː] have negative and tough ones. Facial expressions accompanying the enunciation of these sounds are either smiling (former group) or relatively tough (latter group). Differences are noted between boys’ and girls’ names, currently and previously popular names, names and nicknames, Black and White names, names popular in different geographical locations, pets’ names, and fictional and invented names.
Pragmatic disorders pose a barrier to effective communication in a significant number of children and adults. For nearly forty years, clinical investigators have attempted to characterize these disorders. This chapter examines the state of the art in clinical pragmatics, a subdiscipline of pragmatics that studies pragmatic disorders. The findings of recent empirical research in a range of clinical populations are reviewed. They include developmental pragmatic disorders found in autistic spectrum disorders, specific language impairment, intellectual disability and the emotional and behavioural disorders, as well as acquired pragmatic disorders in adults with left- or right-hemisphere damage, traumatic brain injury, schizophrenia, and the dementias. Techniques used by clinicians to assess and treat pragmatic disorders are addressed. In recent years, theoretical frameworks with a cognitive orientation have increasingly been used to explain pragmatic disorders. Two such frameworks—relevance theory and theory of mind—will be examined in this essay.
How one sees the relationship between cognitive linguistics and philosophy depends on what one takes to be the role and nature of philosophy. The approach followed in this article is the one presented by J. L. Austin: viewing philosophy as constituting the overarching arena for discussions about the nature of the world and our knowledge about it, within which independent disciplines have gradually crystallized into domains of their own. This article addresses some of the basic concerns of philosophy, including the relationship between ontology and epistemology. Thinking about the mind is historically bound up with dilemmas that span all these levels, with a rough polarity between, on the one hand, idealism and rationalism, which share a commitment to mental foundations of understanding, and on the other hand, empiricism, which takes actual experience, entering the mind via the senses, as the foundation of knowledge. This article also discusses linguistics and the philosophy of science in the twentieth century.
Bruno G. Bara
Cognitive pragmatics focuses on the mental states and, to some extent, the mental correlates of the participants of a conversation. The analysis of the mental processes of human communication is based on three fundamental concepts: cooperation, sharedness, and communicative intention. All of the three were originally proposed by Grice in 1975, though each has since been refined by other scholars. The cooperative nature of communication is justified by the evolutionary perspective through which the cooperative reasoning underlying a conversation is explained. Sharedness accounts for the possibility of comprehending non-standard communication such as deceit, irony, and figurative language. Finally, communicative intention presents the unique characteristic of recursion, which is, according to most scientists, a specific trademark of humans among all living beings.
The aim of this chapter is to present the internationally increasing research on commercial nomenclature and also the variable terminology used in different research traditions. Commercial names usually refer to businesses and products, but some other name categories have also begun to receive commercial tones. The commercialization of the western way of life and its impact on nomenclature is an important issue. The chapter casts light on the history of commercial naming and introduces different approaches to the linguistic analysis of commercial names. In addition to the structural analysis, special attention is paid to semantics and functions of names. One particular issue is the question of linguistic origin. English as the global language of business pervades commercial names throughout the world. It is emphasized that commercial names on all linguistic levels are in close connection with their economic context and the socio-cultural and legal features of the country in question.
This article focuses on the relevance of computational complexity for cognition. The syntactic items may be expressions that are surface strings. But in general, strings are syntactically ambiguous in that they can be generated in more than one way from atomic expressions and operations. The semantic function must take disambiguated items as arguments. When expressions are ambiguous, expressions cannot be the arguments. Instead, it is common to take the arguments to be terms, whose surface syntax reflects the derivation of the string. The semantic function differs in one other important respect from an arithmetic function, since it maps entities between domains, from a syntactic to an ontic or conceptual domain of meanings. Compositionality helps to explain the rate of success in linguistic communication when the sentence used or the content communicated is new.
The compositionality idea is the idea that semantic interpretation proceeds in two steps. Simple expressions are interpreted by means of lexical rules, which assign meanings to them directly. Complex expressions are interpreted by means of compositional rules, which assign meanings to them indirectly, as a function of the meanings of their parts. The syntax of natural language is such that the number of complex expressions is not finite. The meaning of a complex expression only depends upon two things: the meanings of its immediate constituents, and the way they are put together. A language exhibits semantic flexibility if a condition is satisfied: in that language, the meaning of a word may vary from occurrence to occurrence, and it may vary, in particular, as a function of the other words it combines with.