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Pragmatic Enrichment

Abstract : It is commonly held that all truth-conditional effects of context result from a pragmatic process of value-assignment that is triggered (and made obligatory) by something in the sentence itself, namely a lexically context-sensitive expression (e.g. an indexical) or a free variable in logical form. Such a process has been dubbed ‘saturation'. It stands in contrast to so called ‘free' pragmatic processes, which are supposed to take place for purely pragmatic reasons — in order to make sense of what the speaker is saying. For example, the pragmatic process through which an expression is given a nonliteral (e.g. a metaphorical or metonymical) interpretation is context-driven: we interpret an expression nonliterally in order to make sense of the speech act, not because this is dictated by the linguistic materials in virtue of the rules of the language. The dominant view, then, is that no free pragmatic process can affect truth-conditions — such processes can only affect what the speaker means (but not what she says). But there is a dissenting position, according to which free pragmatic processes can take place locally and interact with semantic composition, thereby affecting truth-conditions. Three such processes have been discussed in the literature : pragmatic enrichment, predicate transfer, and loosening/broadening. Sometimes ‘pragmatic enrichment' is used as a cover term for these modulation processes because, on a certain understanding, they all result from ‘enriching' the logical representation which is the output of the translational phase of semantic interpretation. The paper presents an overview of this research area.
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Contributor : François Recanati <>
Submitted on : Monday, July 19, 2010 - 2:20:31 PM
Last modification on : Friday, July 2, 2021 - 9:58:02 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Friday, October 22, 2010 - 4:11:11 PM


  • HAL Id : ijn_00503959, version 1



François Recanati. Pragmatic Enrichment. 2010. ⟨ijn_00503959⟩



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