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New PDF release: A Glossary of Semantics and Pragmatics

By Alan Cruse

ISBN-10: 0748624058

ISBN-13: 9780748624058

This easy-to-use advisor illuminates key strategies and phrases in semantics and pragmatics and the examine of which means because it is conveyed via language.

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Additional info for A Glossary of Semantics and Pragmatics

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Here five event-types will be described: states, activities, accomplishments, achievements, and semelfactives. Three event-types are construed as durative, that is, as happening over a period of time rather than being instantaneous: states, activities and accomplishments. 1. States: these represent the limiting case of an event, since nothing ‘happens’. A state has no inherent beginning or end, and no change occurs, as in Pete lives in London. 2. Activities: these have no inherent beginning or end (such events are also called ‘atelic’), but unlike in a state, things ‘happen’: Pete teaches French.

Descriptive meaning therefore includes propositional meaning, but it can be extended to include characteristic or prototypical features, such as the barking of dogs, rather than simply logically necessary features, such as the fact that a dog is an animal. The most important dimensions of descriptive meaning are quality, specificity, intensity and vagueness: (a) Quality: what distinguishes, for instance, red from yellow, dog from cat, plum from banana, run from walk, happy from disappointed. (b) Specificity: what distinguishes hyponyms like dog and daffodil from their respective hyperonyms (superordinates) animal and flower; likewise, meronym-holonym pairs like finger:hand differ on this dimension.

On the other hand, only birds have feathers, so the possession of feathers is diagnostic for the category of birds (this feature is also typical). Both diagnosticity and typicality vary in degree. The possession of feathers is both maxi- 793 02 pages 001-202 31/3/06 10:19 Page 47 A GLOSSARY OF SEMANTICS AND PRAGMATICS 47 mally diagnostic and maximally typical. But having two legs, while diagnostic to some degree since most creatures have more than two legs, is not maximally diagnostic because it is shared with, for instance, humans.

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A Glossary of Semantics and Pragmatics by Alan Cruse


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