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Auteur: Karoly BIBOK

Lexical Semantics Meets Pragmatics

Abstract/Résumé: A number of words do not encode full-fledged concepts (cf., e.g., Lang and Maienborn 2011, Sperber and Wilson 1995). Therefore, the utterance meaning cannot be a simple composition of word meanings but is construed through considerable pragmatic knowledge. On the basis of my previous research into the meaning of Russian and Hungarian verbs and nouns, I aim to show the sources of enriched (non-metaphorical) pragmatic word senses emerging in utterances. First, it is demonstrated how various kinds of contexts have to be taken into account with utterance meaning construction. Second, detached from their contexts, some pieces of contextual information can become context-independent. Furthermore, such a kind of encyclopedic information and information concerning the use of language can be regarded as a prototypical integral part of lexical-semantic representations (Németh T. and Bibok 2010). At the same time, I argue that another type of information is also indispensable to word meaning representations, namely predicates of semantic decomposition, which encode necessary features. Although the underspecified character of word meanings is out of question, there is not a single way that matches all the above-mentioned pragmatic factors in utterance meaning construction. Rather, one should assume a radical form of this underspecificity with many different ways to get pragmatically relevant interpretations. In attempting to achieve my aims, what is being outlined is a conception of lexical pragmatics which deals with mutual connections of grammar and pragmatics in a subfield of the broadly conceived grammar, i.e. in the lexicon. Lexical pragmatics contributes to our knowledge about utterance meaning “ingredients” both from inside the utterance and from outside the utterance. They include lexical representations applying several types of meaning description as well as various mechanisms of meaning construction. In addition, these mechanisms operate hierarchically and are regulated by Sperber and Wilson’s (1995) Cognitive Principle of Relevance. However, such an interpretation seems to be only typical and can be excluded (or overridden) if any specific information is present from the start. References Lang, Ewald and Claudia Maienborn 2011, Two-level semantics: Semantic Form and Conceptual Structure. In: Claudia Maienborn, Klaus von Heusinger and Paul Portner (eds.), Semantics: An international handbook of natural language meaning. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 709–740. Németh T., Enikő and Károly Bibok 2010, Interaction between grammar and pragmatics: The case of implicit arguments, implicit predicates and co-composition in Hungarian. Journal of Pragmatics 42, 501–524. Sperber, Dan and Deirdre Wilson 1995, Relevance: Communication and cognition. 2nd ed., Oxford: Blackwell.