In this paper, the notion of “the content of a dialogue” is shown to be problematic in light of the phenomena of semantic coordination in dialogue, and the associated notion of semantic plasticity – the ability of meanings to change as a result of language use. Specifically, it appears that any notion of content in dialogue based on classical model-theoretical semantics will be insufficient for capturing semantic plasticity. An alternative formal semantics, type theory with records (TTR) is briefly introduced and is show to be better equipped to deal with semantic coordination and plasticity. However, it is also argued that any account of content in dialogue which takes semantic coordination seriously will also need to consider the problems it raises for some concepts central to traditional notions of meaning, namely inference and truth.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Staffan Larsson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Philosophy, Linguistics and Theory of ScienceGothenburg UniversityGothenburgSweden

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