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Introduction: Terminological Remarks
1 Language, Mind, World Famous triangle:
Mind World How does the mind relate to the world?
How does language relate to the world?
How does language relates to the mind?
2 Successful Communication Two people succeed in communicating insofar as they understand each others. What does it mean to understand a message?
To share the ideas, concepts, thoughts, …
3 Natural meaning vs. nonnatural meaning: “smoke means fire” vs. “dog” means dog. Linguistic communication rests on nonnatural (conventional) meaning. 4 Some Terminology Reference = the relation between a word and what it stands for.
Referent = the individual (object) designated by a word. 5 Subject/Predicate distinction = NP/VP
The subject refers/stands for/designates an object. while the predicate stands for/designates a property (a concept for Frege).
6 Extension (denotation): the extension of a predicate is the class of all the objects possessing the property expressed by the predicate.
Intension (connotation): it refers to the meaning or characteristics encompassed by a given word, sometimes expressed by a definition. 7 Coreference: two singular terms are coreferential if they designate the same object (cf. anaphora).
two general terms or predicates are coextensional if they apply to the same class of objects. 8 Singular term: a word designating an object E.g.: proper names: “London”, “John”, … indexicals (e.g.: “I”, “them”, “this”, “my pen”…), definite descriptions ?? (e.g.: “the director”, “the capital of Canada”, “Jane’s sister” …).
Can be the subject of a subject/predicate sentence, i.e. a NP.
9 General term: a word which is predicable of more than one object. It can be the predicate of a subject/predicate sentence, i.e. a VP.
E.g.: “Fido is a mammal”, “London is a city”, “Sue is a woman”, …
S/P, Fa, S
NP VP 10 Use/mention distinction: (1) dogs have 4 legs
(2) “dogs” has 4 letter
(3) * dogs is a word
(4) * “dogs” eat bones 11 Natural vs. nonnatural meaning (Grice): "Those spots mean measles" or "A shiny coat in a dog means health”
vs. "Those three rings on the bell (of the bus) mean that the bus is full" or "By saying that the child looked guilty, he meant that the child was in fact guilty".
12 Speaker meaning vs. literal meaning (Grice): the conventional meaning possessed by a sentence vs. what a speaker means (intends to communicate) in using a sentence. E.g.: the literal meaning of “It is cold” is that it is cold, but a speaker in using it can mean “Close the window”. 13 But one cannot play the HumptyDumpy game. Conversational Implicature (Grice): what a speaker means in using some words. It is what matters in communication. 14 ...
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- Winter '08
- literal meaning, nonnatural meaning, Linguistic communication rests