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Beyond Semantics and Pragmatics$
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Gerhard Preyer

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198791492

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198791492.001.0001

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Discourse, Context, and Coherence

Discourse, Context, and Coherence

The Grammar of Prominence

(p.97) 5 Discourse, Context, and Coherence
Beyond Semantics and Pragmatics

Una Stojnić

Oxford University Press

On the received view, the resolution of context-sensitivity is at least partly determined by non-linguistic features of utterance situation. If I say ‘He’s happy’, what ‘he’ picks out is underspecified by its linguistic meaning, and is only fixed through extra-linguistic supplementation: the speaker’s intention, and/or some objective, non-linguistic feature of the utterance situation. This underspecification is exhibited by most context-sensitive expressions, with the exception of pure indexicals, like ‘I.’ While this received view is prima facie appealing, I argue it is deeply mistaken. I defend an account according to which context-sensitivity resolution is governed by linguistic mechanisms determining prominence of candidate resolutions of context-sensitive items. Thus, on this account, the linguistic meaning of a context-sensitive expression fully specifies its resolution in a context, automatically selecting the resolution antecedently set by the prominence-governing linguistic mechanisms.

Keywords:   Context, context-sensitivity, coherence, pure indexicals, true demonstratives

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