Advertisement

Pragmatik pp 324-341 | Cite as

Formal Pragmatics of Non Literal Meaning

  • Daniel Vanderveken
Chapter
Part of the Linguistische Berichte book series (LINGB)

Abstract

In the past decades, there has been much progress in the formal Semantics of ordinary language. Logicians, linguists and philosophers have extensively used logical formalisms in order to interpret directly or after translation important fragments of actual natural languages. They have thereby contributed to the foundations of the theory of sentence meaning. In formal Semantics, speaker meaning is reduced to sentence meaning: one assumes that speakers only mean what they say. Thus, formal semantics is a theory of literal meaning. However, in ordinary conversations, the speaker’s meaning is often different from the sentence meaning. First, the primary illocutionary act that the speaker attempts to perform is different from the literal speech act expressed by the uttered sentence in the cases of metaphor, irony and indirect speech acts. Whenever the speaker indirectly requests the hearer to pass the salt by asking “Can you pass the salt?”, the primary speech act of the utterance is the indirect request and not the literal question about the hearer’s abilities. Second, the speaker means to perform secondary non literal illocutionary acts in the cases of conversational implicatures. By saying “If you are nice, I will give you something” the speaker can imply conversationally that he will not give anything to the hearer if he is not nice. In such a case, he makes a secondary non literal assertion in addition to the primary conditional promise. The speaker’s capacity to make and understand non literal speech acts is clearly part of his linguistic competence. But it exceeds the capacity of understanding the sentence meaning.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Austin, J.L. (1962): How to Do Things with Words. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  2. Bach, K. & R. Harnish (1979): Linguistic Communication and Speech Acts. Cambridge: The MIT Press.Google Scholar
  3. Dascal, M. (1990): “On the Pragmatic Structure of Conversation”. In: J.R. Searle et al., eds. (1990), 35–56.Google Scholar
  4. Grice, H.P. (1975): “Logic and Conversation”. In: P. Cole & J.L. Morgan, eds.: Syntax and Semantics. Vol. 3, Speech acts. New York: Academic Press, 41–58.Google Scholar
  5. Kasher, A. (1982): “Gricean Inference Revisited”. Philosophica 29, III, 25–44.Google Scholar
  6. Montague, R. (1974): Formal Philosophy. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Searle, J.R. (1979): Expression and Meaning. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Searle, J.R. & D. Vanderveken (1985): Foundations of Illocutionary Logic. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Searle, J.R. et al., eds. (1990): (On) Searle on Conversation. Amsterdam: Benjamins.Google Scholar
  10. Sperber D. & D. Wilson (1986): Relevance. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Vanderveken, D. (1991): “Non Literal Speech Acts and Conversational Maxims”. In: E. Lepore & R. Van Gulick, eds.: John Searle and his Critics. Oxford: Blackwell, 371–384.Google Scholar
  12. Vanderveken, D. (1990–1991): Meaning and Speech Acts. Vol. 1, Principles of Language Use. Vol. 2, Formal Semantics of Success and Satisfaction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Wittgenstein, L. (1968): Philosophical Investigations. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel Vanderveken
    • 1
  1. 1.Canada

Personalised recommendations