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Linguistic Meaning and Non-Truth-Conditionality


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 III Applications of Semantic Theory to Non-Truth-Conditional Meaning 127


Part Iii Applications of Semantic Theory to Non-Truth-Conditional Meaning Chapter 7 Conceptual Meaning, Adverbials and Parentheticals 1. Introduction So far, we have mainly focused on traditional accounts of non-truth-con- ditional meaning. In particular, we first considered the analysis proposed by speech act theory, which was shown to face a number of problems. We subsequently examined the Gricean approach in terms of the notion of conventional implicature, which was also subject to various counterargu- ments. It was then suggested that an alternative account was needed and we turned our attention to the two alternative approaches proposed within relevance theory. On the one hand, we looked at the analysis developed by Sperber and Wilson, based on the concept of higher level explicature. On the other, we examined the account proposed by Blakemore, based on the notion of constraints on relevance or, more specifically, constraints on implicature. These alternative accounts rely on two key distinctions made within linguistic semantics and verbal communication, i.e. between conceptual and procedural meaning, on the one hand, and between explicit and implicit communication, on the other. These two distinctions form the basis for the semantic characterisation of linguistic meaning and thus give rise to two corresponding questions about the specific type of meaning encoded by any given linguistic phenomenon. Firstly, does it encode a concept or a procedure? Secondly, does it contribute to the explicatures or the implicatures of the utterance in which it appears? Moreover, since here we are studying non-truth-conditional meaning, it would seem natural to...

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