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Linguistic Meaning and Non-Truth-Conditionality

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Xosé Rosales Sequeiros

This book offers a new perspective on current semantic theory by analysing key aspects of linguistic meaning and non-truth-conditional semantics. It applies non-truth-conditional semantics to various areas of language and critically considers earlier approaches to the study of semantic meaning, such as truth-conditional semantics, Speech Act theory and Gricean conventional implicatures. The author argues that those earlier approaches to linguistic semantics do not stand up to close scrutiny and are subject to a number of counterexamples, indicating that they are insufficient for a comprehensive and unified account of linguistic semantics.
An alternative framework is then presented based on recent developments in the field, demonstrating that it is possible to provide a unified account of linguistic semantics by making two fundamental distinctions between (a) conceptual and procedural meaning and (b) explicit and implicit communication. These two distinctions, combined with the various levels of representation available in linguistic communication, allow researchers to capture the variety of linguistic meaning encountered in natural language. The study includes a discussion of a number of areas within linguistic semantics, including sentence adverbials, parentheticals, discourse/pragmatic connectives, discourse particles, interjections and mood indicators.

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Part I Traditional Approaches to Non-Truth-ConditionalMeaning 1

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Part I Traditional Approaches to Non-Truth-Conditional Meaning Chapter 1 Introduction: Linguistic Semantics and Meaning 1. Introduction This book involves the study of non-truth-conditional meaning. It covers a number of areas which are traditionally seen as falling outside truth-con- ditional semantics proper, including conventional implicatures, sentence adverbials, parentheticals, discourse connectives of various types, and mood indicators. It considers a number of approaches to these phenomena and attempts to place the discussion in a theoretical and historical context. Traditionally, the study of this type of meaning has been overshad- owed by a presumption that linguistic meaning should fall squarely within truth-conditional semantics. In this view, language was seen as providing a direct link between words and objects in the world, of fering us a way of describing states of af fairs. The meaning of those descriptions would then be captured in terms of the conditions that would have to hold in the world for a given utterance to be true (i.e. its truth-conditions). However, since the 1950s it has become increasingly clear that language is not only used to describe the world but also to perform other functions. It has been shown that these additional roles give rise to a number of counterexamples against the truth-conditional approach. The main objection has been that many linguistic expressions, such as non-declarative mood indicators, connectives, or sentence adverbials, do not describe states of af fairs in the world, but rather perform actions or modify dif ferent aspects of verbal communica- tion. As a result, their...

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