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  • 8/6/2019 Limba Engleza a Sinteza Sem2


    Linguistic Pragmatics

    Tematica de examen la Pragmatica:

    1.0. The Domain of Linguistic Pragmatics2.0. Deixis3.0. Conversational Implicature Grices Analysis of Conversation4.0. Presupposition5.0. The Theory of Speech Acts

    Prof. dr. Ilinca Crainiceanu


    COURSE 1

    The Domain of Linguistic PragmaticsFor characterizing the subject matter of (linguistic) pragmatics, the conceptions ofMorris

    (1971) regarding the three branches of semiotics still turn out to be basic. Semiotics is a

    general philosophical theory of signs and symbols that deals with their function in both

    artificially constructed and natural languages and comprises syntax, semantics and


    According to Morris, pragmatics deals with the relation of signs to their users. In more

    precise terms, pragmatics is that portion of semiotics which deals with the origin, uses and

    effects of signs within the behaviour in which they occur. As such, pragmatics deals with all

    the psychological, biological and sociological phenomena which occur in the functioning of


    Therefore, social aspects of signs (sociolinguistics) and psychological aspects of signs

    (psycholinguistics) are part of the domain of pragmatics. Morris had in view the pragmatics of

    any semiotic system. We will, of course, restrict ourselves to linguistic pragmatics, simply

    pragmaticsfrom now on.

    From the above description of the subject matter of pragmatics it appears that linguistic

    pragmatics finds itself at the borderline between linguistics and disciplines that characterise

    the language users: psychology, sociology, biology.

    Lieb (1976) attempts a more precise specification of the domain of pragmatics. He starts

    from the apparent truism that the subject matter of linguistics consists of the semiotic

    properties of natural language and ofcommunicationin natural language. A natural language

    is a special kind of communicative complex, which, in its turn, is a set of means of

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    communication. Any means of communication is a means of communication for somebody

    during a certain time. As examples of pragmatic properties Lieb mentions any relation

    between communicative means(that is, linguistic structures), users(that is, human

    organisms) and some space-timeportion. The introduction of the specification and some

    space-time portion is highly relevant. It points out to the importance of the concept of

    context in pragmatics. Thus, the study of the determination of meaning in context is a matter

    of pragmatics. For example, David Lodge in his novel Paradise News gives the following

    piece of conversation:

    Speaker A: I just met the old Irishman and his son, coming out of the toilet

    Speaker B: I wouldnt have thought there was room for the two of them

    Speaker A: No silly, I meantIwas coming out of the toilet. They were waiting.

    It is the larger context (not just one sentence) that helps us sort out ambiguities in spoken or

    written language.

    Context is a dynamic not static concept: it stands for the surroundings that enable the

    participants to interact in the communication process. Context is a matter of reference and

    understanding what things are about.

    Another example to prove the point is the following one due to Peter Grundy (1995):

    Speaker A: Its a long time since you visited your mother

    This sentence, when uttered at a coffee table after dinner by a married couple in their living-

    room has a meaning different from the one it has when uttered by a husband to his wife while

    they are standing in front of the chimp enclosure at the local zoo.

    The context is also of paramount importance in assigning the proper value to such

    phenomena as deixis, presupposition, implicature, speech acts and the whole set of

    context-oriented features.

    We shall say a few words about these domains of pragmatics as schetchy introductory


    Deixis. Take the following example: I am the British Prime Minister.

    To interpret this sentence we have to know what the referent ofI is. What is referred to by I

    depends on who says the word I at a particular time. The sentence is true now if it is utteredby Tony Blair but false if it is uttered by John Major. Not only is who utters the sentence

    important but also when the sentence is uttered.There is a class of words whose referents

    depend crucially on the time, place and participants in the speech events. These words are

    called deictic terms or simply deictics and the phenomen in general is called deixis.

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    Besides the personal pronouns, deictics include reference to location(this, that, here, there)

    and time(now, then, yesterday, tomorrow).

    Presupposition. The basic intuition behind the notion of presupposition is the relationship

    between something that is actually said and something else which has to follow for the

    sentence to make sense: p q. Karttunen (1979) offers the following definition to

    presupposition: a proposition p presupposes another proposition q if and only if p entails q

    (we infer q) and the negation of p also entails q. For example:

    factive predicates: presupposition

    e.g. John regrets insulting Ann John insulted Ann

    change of state verbs:

    e.g. Sally stopped smoking Sally had been smoking


    e.g. Johns rash came back John had a rash earlier

    cleft constructions:

    e.g. It was John who kissed Ann Someone kissed Ann

    Implicature. By conversational implicature, we understand, roughly speaking, the principle

    according to which an utterance, in a conventional setting, is always understood in

    accordance with what can be expected. Thus, in a particular situation involving a question, an

    utterance that on the face of it does not make sense can very well be an adequate answer.

    If two people are in a bus stop and one of them asks the other: What time is it?and receives

    the answer: The bus has just went by, makes perfect sense, although there are no strictly

    gramaticalized items that could be identified as carriers of such information about the

    context. It follows that the hearer makes inferences about meaning based on context.

    Speech acts. It has been proposed (Austin, How To Do Things with Words, 1962) that

    communication involves the performance ofutterance actsorspeech acts.Any utterance act

    or SA is a complex act including the following:

    1). a locutionary act (=LA) - this is an act of saying something to an audience, an act of

    uttering a sentence with meaning (sense and reference).

    2). an illocutionary act (=IA) - this is an act of doing something, it is what the utterance counts


    3). a perlocutionary act (=PA) - the speakers utterance affects the audience in a certain way,

    it has a certain intended or unintended effect on the hearer.

    These acts are intimately related. In uttering some sentence the speaker S says something to

    a hearer H; in saying something to H, S does something, and by doing something S affects H.

    Austin mostly focuses on IAs and has but little to say about the LAs and PAs. The locutionary

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    act should be kept distinct from the illocutionary act. This is proved by the fact that a sentence

    may have a perfectly clear meaning (sense and reference) without being clear at the

    illocutionary force level.

    For example:

    Speaker A: What do you mean by saying that you are driving to London tomorrow?

    Speaker B: Well, I was offering to take you allong.

    Pragmatic competence. While syntax and semantics (as parts of the grammar) give an

    account of language structure, pragmatics gives an account of language use.

    The term language use may be misleading, since it might suggest that pragmatics is simply

    an account of performance phenomena. Pragmatics is not only concerned with linguistic

    performance but also with pragmatic competence, that is with the speakers knowledge of

    how to use language. Pragmatic competence should roughly be understood as

    communicative competence which may also include the speakers stylistic or rhetoric

    competence, his textual competence a.s.o.

    Thus, what we call linguistic competence in a broad sense appears to include linguistic

    competence proper (grammatical competence), conceptual competence (intimately related to

    the speakers knowledge of the world), and finally communicative competence.

    COURSE 2


    Introduction. The most obvious way in which the relationship between language and context

    is reflected in the structures of language is through the phenomenon ofdeixis. The term is

    borrowed from the Greek word for pointing or indicating, and has as prototypical exemplars

    the use ofdemonstratives, firstand second personalpronouns, tenseand specific time and

    place adverbs.

    Essentially, deixis concerns the ways in which languages encode or grammaticalize features

    of the context of utterance orspeech event. Thus, the pronoun thisdoes not name or refer

    to any particular entity on all occasions of use; rather it is a variable for some particular entitygiven by the context (e.g. by a gesture, for example).

    The importance of deictic interpretation of utterances is perhaps best illustrated by what

    happens when such information is lacking (Fillmore, 1975). Consider, for example, finding the

    following notice on someones office door:

    (1) Ill be back in an hour.

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    As we do not know whenit was written, we cannot know when the writer will return.

    The many facets of deixis are so pervasive in natural languages, and so deeply

    grammaticalized, that it is easy to think of them as only pertaining to the domain of

    semantics. If semantics is taken to include all conventional aspects of meaning, thenmost deictic phenomena are properly considered semantic. However, on the view that

    pragmatics deals with those aspects of meaning that can not be captured in truth-

    conditional semantics but are anchored to aspects of the context, deixis will probably

    be found to straddle the semantics/pragmatics border.

    Deixis is organized in an egocentric way. Deictic expressions are anchored to specific

    points in the communicative event which constitute the deictic centre:

    (i) the central person is the speaker.

    (ii) the central time is the time at which the speaker produces the utterance.

    (iii) the central place is the speakers location at speech time.

    (iv) the discourse centre is the point which the speaker is currently at in the

    production of the utterance.

    Descriptive approaches. Although the importance of deixis can hardly be questioned, there

    has been surprisingly little work of a descriptive nature in the area. The most important

    linguistic works in the topic are due to Fillmore (1966) and Lyons (1968). The traditional

    categories of deixis are person, place and time.

    These categories are understood in the following way.

    Person deixis concerns the encoding of the role of participants in the speech event: the

    category first person is the grammaticalization of the speakers reference to himself, second

    person the encoding of the speakers reference to one or more addressees, and third

    person the encoding of reference to persons and entities which are neither speakers nor

    addressees. It is important to note that third person is quite unlike first or second person in

    that it does not correspond to any specific participant-role in the speech event: it is negatively

    defined with respect to the other two participant-roles. Third person participant-roles are not

    deictic words. Participant-roles are encoded in language by pronouns and their associated

    predicate agreements. Pronominal systems generally exhibit this three-way distinction.

    Pronominal systems may exhibit other superimposing distinctions based on plurality or

    sometimes on sex of the referent and social status of the referent (as it is the case in

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    Japonese). For example, in English we distinguish (indirectly) between we-inclusive-of-

    addressee and we-exclusive-of-addressee as in:

    (2) Lets go to the cinema(we-inclusive-of-addressee)

    (3) ?Lets go to see you tomorrow(we-exclusive-of-addressee)

    Sometimes, morphological agreement can make further distinctions not overtly made

    by the pronouns themselves in languages that exhibit no distinction between their

    polite second person singular pronoun from their second person plural pronoun (as it

    is the case in Romanian and French):

    (4) Vorbiti frantuzeste? / Sunteti profesorul de franceza?

    (5) Vous parlez franais? / Vous tes le professeur?

    A further point to be noticed in connection with person deixis is that where face-to-

    face contact is lost, languages often enforce a distinct mode of self-introduction.

    Thus, whereas in a face-to-face meeting I can say Im John, on the phone I must

    say This is John or John is speaking with third person verb agreement; in contrast

    in Romanian (and other languages) we use the first person agreement: Sunt Ion.

    Time deixis. Time deixis concerns the encoding of temporal points and spans

    relativeto the time at which an utterance was spoken (or a message was written).

    This time is called coding time or CT (Fillmore, 1971) which may be distinct from

    receiving time or RT (as in our former example: Ill be back in an hour). Time deixis

    is commonly grammaticalized in deictic adverbs of time (like English now, then,

    yesterday, this year) but above all in tense.

    To understand the complexity of time deixis it is first necessary to have a good

    understanding of the semantic organization of time in general (although this topic lies

    beyond the scope of this elementary introduction). Briefly, the basis for systems of

    measuring time in most languages seems to be the natural (objective) cycles of day

    and night, lunar months, seasons and years. Such units can either be used as

    measures (relative to some fixed point of interest, including the deictic centre: today,

    this month, etc.) or they can be used calendrically to locate events in absolute time

    (relative to some absolute origio, as in this August which means the August of the

    calendar year that includes the coding time (CT) and not necessarily the month we

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    are now in, different from this weekwhich ordinarily means the week that we are now

    in). Complexities arise in the usage of tense, time adverbs whenever there is a

    departure between the moment of utterance or coding time (CT) from the moment of

    reception or receiving time (RT). This happens in letter writing or the pre-recording of

    media programmes. In this event, a decision has to be made about whether the

    deictic centre will remain with the speaker and CT as in

    (6) This programme is being recorded today, Wednesday April 1th, to be relayed

    next Thursday.

    I write this letter while chewing gum.

    or will be projected on the addressee and receiving time (RT) as in (7) below:

    (7) This programme was recorded last Wednesday, April 1th, to be relayed today.

    I wrote this letter while chewing gum.

    Moreover, we become aware that the whole process of sequence of tenses is a matter of

    deixis as tenses in the subordinate clauses are a semantic reflex of the temporal value of the

    two temporal standpoints (the present tense, on the present axis of orientation, and the past

    tense, on the past axis of orientation). In the same way temporal adverbials change their

    paradigm according to the time axis on which they appear: todayvs. yesterday, tomorrowvs.

    the next daya.s.o.

    Finally, we should mention that time deixis is relevant to various other deictic elements in alanguage. Thus, greetingsare usually time-restricted, so that goodmorning and good

    eveningcan only be used in the morning or in the evening, respectively. Curiously, while the

    above can only be used as greetings, good nightcan only be used as a parting, and not as a


    Place deixis. Place or space deixis concerns the encoding of spatial locations relativeto the

    location of the participants in the speech event. Most languages grammaticalize at least a

    distinction between proximal (close to speaker) and distal (or non-proximal, sometimes

    close to the addressee) deixis. Such distinctions are commonly encoded in demonstratives (like this[+proximal] vs. that [-proximal]) and in deictic adverbs of place (like here[+proximal]

    vs. there[-proximal]).

    Lyons (1977) argues that there seem to be two basic ways of referring to objects: by

    describing or naming them on the one hand, and by locating them on the other hand. As far

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    as the latter way of referring to objects, locations can be specified relative to other objects or

    fixed reference points:

    (8) The station is two hundred yards from the cathedral.

    (9) Kabul lies at latitude 34 degrees, longitude 70 degrees.

    Alternatively, objects can be deictically specified relative to the location of

    participants at the time of speaking as in

    (10) Its two hundred yards away.

    (11) Kabul is four hundred miles West ofhere.

    Besides demonstratives and deictic advebs of place, there are some motion verbs

    that have built-in deictic components. English comevs. go/ bringand takemake a

    distinction between the direction of motion relative to participants in the speech

    event. Thus,

    (12) Hes coming

    seems to gloss he is moving towards the speakers location at CT while

    (13) Hes going

    glosses as he is moving away from the speakers location at CT. In contrast

    (14) Im coming

    cannot mean the speaker is moving towards the location of the speaker, but

    rather means the speaker is moving towards the location of the addresseeat CT.

    Such a usage may have dichronically arisen from a polite deictic shift to the

    addressees point of view. However the above sentences do not exhaust the

    contexts in which comemay occur. Consider sentence (15) below:

    (15) When Im in the office, you can cometo see me.

    In the sentence above, comeglosses as movement towards the location of the

    speaker at the time of some other specified event (called reference time). Such a

    usage is ultimately deictic in that it makes reference to participant-role; but it is not

    directly place-deictic in that there is no anchorage to the location of the present

    speech event.

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    There is even another deictic usage ofcomethat is based not on participants

    actual location, but on their normative location orhome-base. Hence the

    possibility of saying (16) when neither speaker nor addressee is at home:

    (16) I cameover several times to visit you, but you were neverthere.Further complexities in place deixis arise if the speaker is in motion - it then

    becomes possible to use temporal terms in order to refer to deictic locations, as in:

    (17) I first heard that ominous rattle ten miles ago.

    (18) There is a good fast food joint just ten minutes from here.

    Course 3

    Conversational Implicature - Grices Analysis of Conversation

    Preliminaries. Unlike many other topics in pragmatics, implicature does not have an

    extended history. The key ideas were proposed by Paul Grice in his lectures delivered at

    Harvard in 1967; they are still only partly published (1975, 1978).

    Grices original intention in developing his now famous Logic of Conversation was to show

    that apparent differences in the meaning of logical connectors: and, or, if-then, as used in

    logic and in ordinary language, could be explained away because they naturally follow from

    certain conversational principles, in their turn derived from general principles of human action

    and rationality.

    From a narrow linguistic perspective, Grices analysis of conversation shows how to mean

    more than one says while also meaning what one says.

    Grice starts with the following type of examples: suppose that A and B are talking about a

    mutual friend C, who is now working in a bank. A asks B how C is getting along in his job and

    B replies:Oh, quite well. I think he likes his colleagues, and he hasnt been to prison yet. At

    this point, A might well inquire what B was implying, or even what he meant by saying that C

    has not been in prison yet. The answer might be anyone of such things as that C is the sort of

    person likely to yield to temptation provided by his occupation, that Cs colleagues are really

    very unpleasant and treacherous people a.s.o. It might, of course, be quite unnecessary for A

    to make such an inquiry of B, the answer to it being in the context clear in advance. I think it

    is clear that whatever B implied, suggested or meant is distinct from what B said, which was

    simply that C has not been to prison yet (Grice, 1975). A proposition which is conveyed

    indirectly, distinct from what is said directly, is called an implicatum. One of the possible

    implicata in the example above is that C is the sort of person likely to yield to temptation.

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    Thus, Grice argues, what an utterance conveys in context falls into two parts: what is said

    (i.e. the logical cognitive content) and the implicatures.

    Grice distinguishes two types of implicatures:

    a). conventional implicatures - these are inferences made possible by the meaning of

    particular lexical items (e.g. too, however, moreover, well,still, although, so, thereforeor

    syntactic constructions). Grices example is:

    1. He is an Englishman, therefore he is brave

    where the conventional implicature carried by thereforeis that he is brave because he is an


    b). conversational implicatures are inferences determined not only by the conventional

    content of the utterance, but also by the conversational context in which the utterance is

    located. They are inferences derived from the content of the sentence and owe their

    existence to the fact that participants in a conversation obey a Cooperative Principle, i.e.

    are constrained by the common goal of communication to be cooperative. The following is

    Grices formulation of the Cooperative Principle:

    Cooperative Principle(=CP). Make your conversational contribution such as is required, at the

    stage at which it occurs, by the accepted purpose or direction of the talk exchange in which

    you are engaged.

    On the basis of the CP, Grice also formulates certain specific maxims of conversation, falling

    under the general categories of Quantity, Quality, Relation and Manner.

    1. The Maxim of Quantity relates to the quantity of information as is required for the

    current purpose of the exchange; under it there fall the following submaxims:

    a. Make your contribution as informative as is required for the current purpose of the


    b. Do not make your contribution more informative than is required.

    2. The Maxim of Quality: Try to make your contribution one that is true. This has

    two more specific submaxims:

    a. Do not say what you believe to be false.b. Do not say that for which you lack adequate evidence.

    3. The Maxim of Relation: This maxim is simply Be relevant.

    4. The Maxim of Manner: This has to do with how things are said. The supermaxim

    is Be perspicuous and the submaxims are:

    a. Avoid obscurity.

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    b. Avoid ambiguity.

    c. Be brief.

    d. Be orderly.

    In short, these maxims specify what participants have to do in order to converse in a

    maximally efficient, rational, cooperative way: they should speak sincerely, relevantly and

    clearly, while providing sufficient information.

    To this view of the nature of communication there is an immediate objection: the view may

    describe a philosophers paradise, but no one actually speaks like that all the time! But

    Grices point is subtly different. It is not the case, he readily admits, that people follow these

    guidelines to the letter. Rather, in most ordinary kinds of talk, these principles are adhered to

    by the hearers such that, contrary to appearences, these principles are observed at some

    deeper level. An example should make this clear:

    1. A: Wheres Bill?

    B: Theres a yellow BMW outside Sues house.

    Here Bs contribution, taken literally, fails to answer As question, and thus seems to violate at

    least the maxims of Quantity and Relevance. We might therefore expect Bs utterance to be

    interpreted as a non-cooperative response. Yet, it is clear that despite this apparentfailure of

    cooperation, we interpret Bs utterance as nevertheless cooperative at some deeper level.

    We do this by assuming that it is in fact cooperative, and then asking ourselves what possible

    connection there could be between the location of Bill and the location of a yellow BMW, wearrive at the suggestion (which B effectively conveys) that, if Bill has a yellow BMW, he may

    be in Sues house.

    In cases of this sort, inferences arise to preserve the assumption of cooperation; it is only by

    making the assumption contrary to superficial indications that the inferences arise in the first

    place. It is this kind of inference that Grice dubs an implicature, or more properly a

    conversational implicature. So, Grices point is not that we always adhere to these maxims on

    a superficial level but rather that, whenever possible, people will interpret what we say as

    conforming to the maxims on at least some level.But what is the source of these maxims of conversational behaviour? Are they conventional

    rules that we learn as, say, table manners? Grice suggests that the maxims are in fact not

    arbitrary conventions, but rather describe rational means for conducting cooperative

    exchanges. If this is so, we would expect them to govern aspects of non-linguistic behaviour

    too, and indeed they seem to do so. Consider, for example, a situation in which A and B are

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    fixing a car. If the maxim of Quality is an invitation to produce a sincere act (a move we need

    to make anyway to extend the maxim to questions, promoses, invitations, etc.) then B fails to

    comply with it if, when asked for brake fluid, he knowingly passes A the the oil. Similarly, A

    would fail to observe the maxim of Quantity, if, when B needs three bolts, A purposely passes

    him only one, or alternatively passes him 200. Likewise with Relevance: if B wants three

    bolts, he needs them nownot half an hour later. Finally, B would fail to comply with the

    maxim of Manner (i.e. clarity of purpose) if, when A needs a bolt of size 8, B purposely

    passes him a bolt of size 10.

    In each of these cases the behaviour falls short of some natural notion of full cooperation,

    because it violates one or another of the non-verbal analogues of the maxims of


    However, the reason for linguistic interest in the maxims is that they generate inferences

    beyond the semantic content of the sentences uttered. Such inferences are, by definition,

    conversational implicatures, where the term implicatureis intended to contrast with terms like

    entailmentand logical consequencewhich are generally used to refer to inferences that are

    derived solely from logical or semantic content. Implicatures are not semantic inferences, but

    rather inferences based on both the content of what has been said and some specific

    assumptions about the cooperative nature of ordinary verbal interaction.

    These inferences come about in at least two distinct ways. If the speaker is observing the

    maxims in a fairly direct way, he may nevertheless rely on the addressee to amplify what he

    says by some straightforward inferences based on the assumption that the speaker is

    following the maxims. For example:

    A (to passer by): Ive run out of petrol

    B: Oh, theres a garage just around the corner

    Here Bs utterance may be taken to implicate that A may obtain petrol there, and he would

    certainly be less than fully cooperative if he knew the garage was closed or was sold out of

    petrol. These inferences that arise from observing the maxims are called generalized

    implicatures (Grice) orstandard implicatures (Levinson, 1983) and do not require

    particular contextual conditions in order to be inferred.

    Another way in which inferences may be generated by the maxims is where the speaker

    deliberately breaches orflouts the maxims. Consider the example:

    A: Lets get the kids something

    B: Okay, but I veto I-C-E C-R-E-A-M-S

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    where B ostentatiously infringes the maxim of Manner (i.e. be perspicuous) by spelling out

    the word ice-creams, and thereby conveys to A that B would rather not have ice-cream

    mentioned directly in the presence of kids, in case they demand some.

    Both kinds of implicature are of great interest. However we shall not offer further examples

    containing generalized implicatures/standard implicatures but concentrate on the second

    type of implicatures that come about by overtly and blatantly notfollowing some maxim, in

    order to exploit it for communicative purposes. As mentioned above, Grice calls such usages

    floutings orexploitations of the maxims. They can be seen to give rise to many of the

    traditional figures of speech. These inferences are based on the remarkable robustness of

    the assumption of cooperation: if someone drastically deviates from maxim-type behaviour,

    then his utterances are still read as underlyingly cooperative. Thus, by infringing some

    maxim, the speaker can force the hearer to do extensive inferencing to some set of

    propositions, such that if the speaker can be assumed to be conveying these, then at least

    the encompassing cooperative principle would be sustained. Here are some examples:

    The Maxim of Quality. This maxim may be flouted in the following exchange:

    A: What if Russia blockades the Gulf and all the oil?

    B: Oh come now, Britain rules the seas!

    Any reasonably informed participant will know that Bs utterance is blatantly false. That being

    so, B cannot be trying to deceive A. The only way in which the assumption that B is

    cooperating can be maintained is if we take B to mean something rather different from what

    he actually said. In fact he conveys the opposite of what he liteally said-namely that Britain

    does not rule the seas, and thus by way of Relevance to the prior utterance, B suggests that

    there is nothing that Britain could do. Hence, Grice claims, ironies arise and are successfully


    Similar remarks can be made for at least some examples of metaphor. For example, if we say

    the following sentence:

    Queen Victoria was made of iron

    we express a categorial falsehood (i.e. a semantic selectional violation). Either we are being

    non-cooperative or we intend to convey something rather different. The straightforward

    interpretation is that since Queen Victoria in fact lacked the definitorial properties of iron, she

    merely had some of the incidental properties like hardness, non-flexibility or durability. Which

    particular set of such properties are attributed to her by the above sentence are in part

    dependent on the context: said by an admirer it may be a commendation, conveying the

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    property of toughness; said by a detractor it may be taken as a denigration, conveying her

    lack of flexibility, emotional impassivity or belligerence.

    The Maxim of Quantity. The uttering of tautologies (i.e. redundant, true by virtue of its logical

    form alone) should, in principle, have absolutely no communicative import. However,

    utterances such as those below can in fact convey a great deal:

    War is war.

    Either John will come or he wont.

    If he does it, he does it.

    Note that these, by virtue of their logical forms (respectively: x (W(x) W(x));

    p v p; p p) are necessarily true; moreover, they share the same truth conditions, and the

    differences we feel to lie between them must be almost entirely due to their pragmatic

    implications. An account of how they come to have communicative significance, and different

    communicative significances, can be given in terms of the flouting of the maxim of Quantity.

    Since this requires that speakers be informative, the asserting of tautologies blatantly violates

    it. Therefore, if the assumption that the speaker is actually cooperating is to be preserved,

    some informative inference must be made. Thus, in the case of War is war it might be:

    terrible things always happen in war, thats its nature and its no good lamenting that

    particular disaster; in the case of Either John will come or he wont it might be: calm down,

    there is no point in worrying about whether he is going to come because there is nothing we

    can do about it; and in the case of If he does it, he does it it might be: its no concern of


    The Maxim of Relevance. Exploitations of this maxim are, as Grice notes, a little harder to

    find, if only because it is hard to construct responses that mustbe interpreted as irrelevant.

    Grice provides the following example:

    A: I do think Mrs Jenkins is an old windbag, dont you?

    B: Huh, lovely weather for March, isnt it?

    where Bs utterance might implicate in the appropriate circumstances hey, watch out, her

    nephew is standing right behind you.

    Another example will be something of the following kind:

    Johnny: Hey Sally, lets play marblesMother: How is your homework getting along Johnny?

    where Johnnys mother can remind him that he may not yet be free to play.

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    The Maxim of Manner. One example of the exploitation of this maxim will suffice here.

    Suppose we find in a review of a musical performance something like a) below where we

    might have expected b):

    a). Miss Singer produced a series of sounds corresponding closely to the

    score of an aria from Rigoletto.

    b). Miss Singer sang an aria from Rigoletto.

    By the flagrant avoidance of the simple b) in favour of the prolix a) (and the consequent

    violation of the sub-maxim be brief), the reviewer implicates that there was in fact some

    considerable difference between Miss Singers performance and that to which the term

    singingis usually applied.

    Course 4


    After conversational implicature which is a special kind of pragmatic inference, we turn now to

    the study of another kind of pragmatic inference, namely presupposition. It seems to be

    based more closely on the actual linguistic structure of sentences. Presupposition is, or rather

    used to be, an extremely fashionable and all encompassing concept. Although there is fairly

    general agreement about when a given sentence carries a presupposition (e.g. that sentence

    (1) presupposes sentence (2) below), there are widely differing views about how exactly one

    should define presuppositions and what are the consequences of presupposition failure (i.e.

    what happens if one asserts (1) and (2) is false:

    1. Chomsky wrote Aspects.

    2. Chomsky exists.

    Historical background. Once again, concern with this topic in pragmatics originates with

    debates in philosophy, specifically debates about the nature of reference and referring

    expressions. The first philosopher, in recent times, who dealt with such problems was Frege,

    the architect of modern logic. When he discussed singular referring expressions (proper

    names and definite descriptions) he said: If anything is asserted there is always an obviouspresupposition that the simple or compound proper names used have a reference. If one

    asserts Kepler died in misery, there is a presupposition that the name Keplerdesignates

    something. Moreover, Frege put forth the idea that the presuppositions of a sentence are not

    contained in the sense of the sentence and that the presuppositions of a sentence and its

    negation are the same: But it does not follow that the sense of the sentence Kepler died in

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    misery contains the thought that the name Kepler designates something. If this were the

    case, the negation would have to run not Kepler did not die in misery but Kepler did not die

    in misery or the name Kepler has no reference. That the name Kepler designates something

    is just as much a presupposition for the assertion Kepler died in misery as for the contrary

    assertion. Moreover, Frege shows, whoever does not admit that the name has a reference

    can neither apply nor withhold the predicate. It seems to follow from this that when a singular

    term in an assertion fails to refer, nothing true or false can have been asserted.

    The pragmatic view on presupposition. From the rather numerous definitions of pragmatic

    presupposition that have been proposed, we have selected two which seem to express the

    prevailing opinions.

    Stalnaker (1974), who devoted a series of stimulating papers to the concept of pragmatic

    presupposition, proposes the following definition:

    (13) A speaker pragmatically presupposes that p by uttering an expression e

    in a certain context just in case:

    (i) the speaker assumes or believes that p

    (ii) the speaker assumes or believes that in a given context his addressee

    assumes or believes that p.

    Thus, the primitive notion of pragmatic presupposition is that of a speaker presupposing

    something about the addressee or/and the context, not that of a sentence having a certain

    presupposition. Presupposing that p as an act contrasts with saying or implicating that p.

    Huntley (1976) analyses saying and implicating that p as instances of giving it to be

    understood that p, while presupposing is a case of taking it to be understood that p.

    For example, the president of a republic might respond to a question about the possibility of a

    pardon for a convicted criminal by saying (14):

    (14) I dont think that people would stand for it.

    The presidents intention is to give it to be understood by implication that he would not pardon

    the criminal or at least that a pardon was not likely.

    Compare (14) with the sentences below: (15a) presupposes (15b):

    (15) a. John has stopped beating his wife

    b. John has been beating his wife.

    To presuppose something is not to attempt to communicate it or to give it to be understood. A

    presupposition is something that the speaker is taking to be understood. Presuppositions are

    believed or assumed to be true, they cannot be false in a context. Some evidence that the

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    belief/assumption that p, indicated in (13i), is associated with the concept of taking it to be

    understood that p is afforded by the fact that take to be understood cannot be modified by


    (16) Nixon falsely gave/*took to be understood that he was not involved in

    the cover up.

    The second sort of definitions of pragmatic presuppositions (e.g. Lakoff (1972), Karttunen

    (1973), among others) focuses on the fact that pragmatic presuppositions represent shared,

    common ground information. They are propositions that must be true in a context if a certain

    sentence is to be felicitously used. Such a definition is (17):

    (17) Sentence A pragmatically presupposes proposition B, iff it is felicitous to utter

    A in order to increment a common ground C, only in case B is

    already entailed by C.

    Again, it appears that one cannot require the presupposition to be (strictly speaking) entailed

    by the existing contexts, nor can we always claim that the presupposition is shared by the

    addressee. Rather, S pretends that conditions (13i-iii) are satisfied. However, this is satisfied

    only if, by dropping the requirement that pragmatic presuppositions should be entailed by the

    context, we maintain the weaker requirement that they should be consistent with the context.

    Linguists began to be interested in presuppositions in the late sixties; McCawley (1968) is

    one of the first important papers that used the concept. Linguists have contributed to the

    study of presuppositions in three ways: a). they have uncovered a wide range of

    presuppositional phenomena, extending the area of presuppositions; b). they have suggested

    a variety of tests that are indicative of a presuppositional relations between propositions; c).

    they have studied the behaviour of presuppositions in discourse, that is, what has come to be

    known as the projection problem for presuppositions, and the phenomena of presupposition

    suspension and cancellation.

    A. We assume that pragmatic presuppositions are induced either by some lexical

    item or by some syntactic constructions which are said to be presupposition

    carriers. In the examples below we start from the core of presuppositional cases

    (existential and factive presuppositions) and move to more controversial cases.

    1. Proper names, definite descriptions - presuppose existence of their referents (and

    uniqueness); this is the oldest case, discussed by Frege:

    (19) The King of Buganda / John washed his hands

    There is a King of Buganda

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    John exists.

    2. Factive verbs. They presuppose the truth of their complement proposition. From

    the present perspective, what is more interesting is that there are degrees of factivity.

    One may distinguish fully factive verbs (e.g. regret, resent, desire, be tragic, be odd)

    and semi-factive verbs (e.g. realize, discover). Semi-factives lose factivity in certain

    enviromnents, for instance, if-clauses. Thus, regretis factive (sentence c), realizeis


    20. a. Bill resents / does not resent (it) that people are always comparing him withhis brother.People are always comparing Bill with his brother.b. John realized / *claimed that the earth is flat. (claim is not factive)The earth is round.c. If I later regret that I did not tell the truth, Ill apologize

    I did not tell the truth

    d. If I later realize that I did not tell the truth, Ill apologizeI did not tell the truth.

    2. Syntactic constructions. We present one syntactic construction that has proved tobe presuppositional:

    Temporal clauses (first discussed by Frege (1892)):1. Before Strawson was even born, Frege noticed / did not noticepresuppositions.

    Strawson was born.

    2. As John was getting up, he slipped

    John was getting up.Therefore, temporal clauses introduced by when, after, as, before, duringetc. presuppose thetruth of the time clause.

    Course 5Speech Acts

    The first full fledged account of Speech Acts Theory is due to Austin who developed it

    in his book entitled How to Do Things with Words (1962). Austins pioneering work must

    be judged against the background of his epoch: a time when semanticists systematically

    ignored the social and pragmatic dimension of language. Starting with Wittgenstein (who said

    that language is use), we witness a reaction within analytical philosophy aimed at criticising

    the descriptive fallacy and the undue privilege granted to the descriptive function of language.

    Austin stresses the institutional dimension of language, the fact that discourse activity is

    human action seen as institutional behaviour.

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    1. The special theory - Constatative vs. Performative Utterances.

    1.0. Austins first important contribution is his distinction between constatative

    utterances (1) and performative utterances (2):

    (1) a.The cat is on the mat

    b. Its raining

    (2) a. I do(cf. take this woman to be my lawful wife, as uttered in the course of

    a marriage ceremony).

    b. I name this ship Queen Elizabeth(as uttered when smashing the

    bottle against the stern)

    c. I bet you sixpence it will rain tomorrow

    Examples (1) are constatative utterances. To utter a constatative sentence is to describe a

    certain pre-existent state of affairs; the utterer intends to give information on a given state of

    the world. The description may or may not agree with the facts. Thus, constatative utterances

    are naturally evaluated as true or false. Examples (2) are performative utterances. To utter a

    performative (= PF) sentence is not to convey information, to state something or to describe a

    pre-existing state of affairs. To utter a performative sentence is to do something, to do things

    with words. Thus, when one says I doin (2a), one is doing something, namely marring,

    rather than reportingsomething, namely that he is marring. The uttering of a PF sentence

    constitutes, or is part of, the doing of a action (marring, christening etc.). Since PF sentences

    are notused to say or state something, they are not true or false.

    1.1. To successfully perform the act specified by the PF sentence the context should

    satisfy certain conditions - the so-called felicity (happiness) conditions of the speech

    act. Austin gives a detailed presentation of these conditions which he established by

    checking what can go wrong with a PF utterance, i.e. in what way it can be


    Felicity conditions: a). there must exist an accepted conventional procedure, having a certain

    conventional effect, a procedure which includes the uttering of certain words by certain

    persons in certain circumstances. If one of these conditions is violated, the act is misinvoked.

    For instance, in the course of time certain practices may be changed or abandoned, e.g. the

    code of honour involving duelling. Thus, a challenge may be issued by saying: My seconds

    will call on you and the interlocutor may simply shrug it off. This was a case of misinvocation.

    This gereral position is exploited in the unhappy story of Don Quixote; b). The procedure

    must be executed by all participants both completely and correctly. If one of these conditions

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    is violated, the act is misexecuted. For instance, a mans attempt to marry is abortive if the

    woman says I will not. In cases (2a) and (2b), if conditions b) are not met, the purported act is

    void; c). if the procedure is designed for use by persons having certain thoughts or feelings,

    then a person participating in the procedure must have those thoughts or feelings. If this

    condition fails to obtain the act is not void, but it is infelicitous, mostly because it is insincere.

    Here are a few examples of insincere acts:

    (3) I congratulate you(said when I am not pleased)

    I promose(said when I do not intend to do what I promise)

    I bet(said when I do not intend to pay).

    2.1. A PF sentence may show with greater or less precision what act is accomplished

    in uttering it. From this point of view, Austin distinguishes between primary PFs and

    explicit PFs:

    (4) a. Go there! (5) a. I order you to go there

    b. Did he come? b. I ask you whether he came

    c. I shall be there c. I promose that I'll be there

    In examples (5) there is a PF verb which makes explicit what act is being performed,

    what is the force of the utterance. Sentences with PF verbs in the first person of the

    indicative present, having the form 'I VPF that', 'I VPF to' or 'I VPF' are all called

    explicit PF sentences. They are to be contrasted with primary PFs, illustrated in (4).

    By virtue of their syntactic form, primary PFs show that some act is being performed

    in uttering them, but they do not indicate which act it is.

    2.2. In addition to PF verbs, there is a wide range of linguistic means that can be used

    to make (more) precise the force of the utterance, i.e. how it is to be taken or what it

    counts as. Austin lists the following:

    (6) moods:

    a. Shut it, now! I order you to shut it

    b. Very well, then shut it! I consent to your shutting itc. Shut it, if you like! I permit you to shut it.

    (7) modal verbs:

    a. You must go there at once! I order you to go there

    b. You may leave now! I allow you to leave now

    (8) intonation, cadence, emphasis:

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    a. It's going to change! (a warning)

    b. It's going to change? (a question)

    (9) the circumstances of the utterance:

    a. Coming from him, I took it as an order.

    2.3. This enumeration of force indicators already shows that the precise force of a PF

    utterance can be satisfied only in the context of utterance. The force of an utterance,

    what it counts as, is an aspect of its meaning which is not fully determined by the

    sense of the sentence.

    2.4. On the explicit performative sentences [EPFS]. EPFSs have the property of

    realizing the acts that they denote, that is they verify the schema:

    (10) The speaker says: "I (hereby) V" The S Vs.

    Thus, sentences (11), which verify the schema, are PFs, while (12) are not. In (11) we

    have also indicated the three characteristic syntactic patterns of EPFs (I V that, I V to,

    I V).

    (11) a. I promise that I will be there

    b. I order you to be there

    c. I appoint you president.

    (12) a. I believe that I will be there

    b. I know that I will be thereAn interesting question raised by Austin was whether the EPFSs of a language

    constitute a syntactically delimited class. i.e. whether there are syntactic features that

    characterize all and only EPF utterances.

    2.4.1. EPF utterances are typically voiced in the first person of the simple present

    tense, in the active voice (examples (11)). Yet also characteristic is the use of a

    passive sentence with second person subjects (sometimes this is the only acceptable

    construction, e.g. (13b)):

    (13)a. You are hereby requested to leave the city at once

    b. You are fired (?? I fire you)

    Hence, it is customary to add adverbials like hereby, here and nowetc. as

    unambiguous markers of performativity. Such adverbs are normally used only in

    formal style.

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    It is often (not always) requested that EPFSs do not employ the continuous

    present which is descriptive, while the simple form is or may be performative:

    (14) a. I promise to come He is promising to come

    (performative) (constatative, description of what he is


    b. I refuse to go He is shaking his head, he is refusing to go.

    2.4.2. Austin notices an important asymmetry in the use of the PF verbs: used in the

    first person of the simple present these verbs are (or may be ) performative; used in

    other persons or tenses they are descriptive: 'I betted'and 'he bets'are not PF, but

    describe actions on my and his part, respectively. However, this is not always true:

    there are certain propositional attitude verbs such as believe, think, imagine, suppose

    that are ambiguous between a descriptive reading (as in I believe God is love) and a

    weak reading which chiefly occurs in the first person and in which the main assertion

    is made in the complement clause (as in I believe he's over thirty).

    3.0. Criticism of the Performative / Constatative Distinction. We have seen that in the

    widest acceptation we call PF any utterance which is not a true or false description of

    reality, but which in-forms the world, instantiating the reality of the accomplished act

    (ordering, appointing, naming, asking etc. as in I order you to go away, Go away, Is

    he back?). A PF utterance constitutes a new state of affairs, while a constatative

    utterance merely attempts to correspond to the world. PF utterances are felicitous or

    infelicitous, constatative utterances are true or false.

    3.1. However, on closer scrutiny, Austin finds that the distinction is not really hard and


    3.1.1. To begin with, constatative utterances may be liable to certain infelicities very

    similar to those that affect PFs. For instance, constatative utterances may be

    insincere. Suppose one says 'The cat is on the mat' when it is not the case that one

    believes that the cat is on the mat. Clearly it is a case of insincerity. The unhappiness

    here, though affecting a statement, is exactly the same as the unhappiness infecting 'I

    promise.', when I do not intend to keep my word. Consider now the constatative

    'John's children are bald'uttered when John has no children. The statement is not

    true or false, but void.

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    3.1.2. Let us turn to PFs now: connected with the PF 'I warn you that the bull is about

    to charge'is the fact that the bull is about to charge. If the bull is not about to charge,

    then the PF utterance 'I warn you that the bull is about to charge' is open to criticism.

    This is not because it is unhappy (void or insincere) but because it was a false

    warning. Therefore, considerations of the type of truth or falsity may infect


    3.1.3. Austin's decisive argument against the constatative / performative opposition is

    the following: to detect the performativity of pragmatically ambiguous sentences,

    Austin used the EPF paraphrase. (15b) is certainly a paraphrase of (15a):

    (15) a. The earth is round

    b. I state that the earth is round

    Thus, (15a) which describes a state of affairs is paraphrasable by (15b) which

    performs the act of stating something. If (15a) is pragmatically equivalent to (15b),

    Austin concludes that every utterance instantiates a new reality, namely the

    pragmatic reality of the accomplished speech act. Hence, Austin concludes that all

    utterances are performative, in the sense that in uttering a sentence the speaker

    performs an illocutionary act - ordering, stating, promising, baptizingetc.

    Constatatives are primary performatives having the illocutionary force (= IF) of


    4. The General Theory. Consequently, Austin proposes that communication involves the

    performance ofutterance actsorspeech acts. Any utterance act or SA is a complex act

    including the following:

    1). a locutionary act (=LA) - this is an act of saying something to an audience, an act of

    uttering a sentence with meaning (sense and reference).

    2). an illocutionary act (=IA) - this is an act of doing something, it is what the utterance counts


    3). a perlocutionary act (=PA) - the speakers utterance affects the audience in a certain way,

    it has a certain intended or unintended effect on the hearer.

    These acts are intimately related. In uttering some sentence the speaker S says something to

    a hearer H; in saying something to H, S does something, and by doing something S affects H.

    Austin mostly focuses on IAs and has but little to say about the LAs and PAs. The locutionary

    act should be kept distinct from the illocutionary act. This is proved by the fact that a sentence

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    may have a perfectly clear meaning (sense and reference) without being clear at the

    illocutionary force level.

    For example:

    Speaker A: What do you mean by saying that you are driving to London tomorrow?

    Speaker B: Well, I was offering to take you allong.

    5. Austin on Illocutionary Acts. In uttering a sentence, S performs a certain type of

    institutional act defined by a certain relation established between S and H by means

    of the utterance. To perform an illocutionary act (IA) is to produce an utterance with a

    certain illocutionary force (IF), where IF is defined as a complex communicative

    intention or communicative goal. The IA is happily performed only if a certain effect on

    the hearer is obtained. Generally, the effect amounts to bringing about the

    understanding of the meaning (sense and reference) and of the IF of the locution. So,

    the performance of an IA involves "the securing of the uptake" (i.e. understanding,

    comprehension). As first noticed by Strawson (1964) there is a strong similarity

    between Austin's notion of uptake and Grice's notion of speaker meaning.

    Understanding the IF is knowing what a speaker meant by his utterance. When one

    intends to make a statement or make a promise, one wants to obtain a certain effect

    on the audience by virtue of the audience's recognition of one's intention to get that

    effect. Part of S's intention is that H should identify the very act S intends to perform

    and successful communication requires fulfillment of that intention. In particular, since

    the H's primary but not exclusive basis for identifying the IF is what S says, the theory

    will have to spell out the connection between the LA and the IA; thus, H can

    reasonably be expected to identify the IA. Bach-Harnisch (1979) suggest that in

    deriving the IF of utterances, H tacitly relies on the following Communicative

    Presumption (= CP):

    Communicative Presumption: This is the mutual belief that whenever a member S

    says something in language L to another member H, he is doing so with somerecognizable intention.

    In interpreting the notion of uptake, it will be useful to make a distinction

    between communicative IAs (stating, requesting, asking, promisingetc.) which

    involve intentions of S and conventional IAs (acts like voting, resigning, marring,

    baptizing, arresting, acquittingetc.) which involve extralinguistic conventions. In the

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    case of conventional acts the utterance is embodied in some ceremonial act

    constituting part of it:

    (16) a. I baptize you in the name of the Holy Father, of the Son and the Holy


    b. I sware to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

    c. I pass(while playing bridge).

    Acts like those in (16) are conventional. They exist only with respect to an

    extralinguistic institution and their performance is governed by the conventions of that

    institution. Communicative IAs are successful if uptake is secured through the

    mechanisms of intentions. Communicative IAs are acts expressing attitudes. To

    express an attitude is S's intention for his utterance to be taken as reason to think that

    he has a certain attitude (belief, desire, etc.). Thus, communicative IAs are

    transactions which introduce new interaction conditions among S and H (e.g. H's

    obligation to fulfill a command, S's commitment to fulfill a promise) while conventional

    acts bring about institutional changes. To give Austin's example if "I name the ship

    Queen Elizabeth", this has the effect of naming or christening the ship; then certain

    subsequent acts such as referring to it as Generalissimo Stalin will be out of order".

    General Bibliography

    1. Levinson Stephen (1983) - Pragmatics, Cambridge University Press.

    2. Grundy Peter (1995) - Doing Pragmatics, Edward Arnold, A member of the

    Hodder Headline Group.

    3. Thomas Jenny (1995) - Meaning in Interaction (An Introduction to Pragmatics),

    Longman Group Limited.

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    prof. dr. Ilinca Criniceanu

    Programa cursului opional ALTERNANE SINTACTICE N ENGLEZ

    sem I i II, an III (englez - o limb strin, o limb strin - englez)



    Cursul opional Alternane sintactice n englez analizeaz atat proprietile semantice cat

    i pe cele sintactice ale verbelor cu dublu obiect (de exemplu, give, send, promise, cook, buy)

    care pot forma dou construcii sintactice (alternane): construcia cu dativ prepoziional (John

    gave a ring to Mary) i construcia cu dublu obiect (John gave Mary a ring).

    1. Clasele de verbe ditranzitive care admit alternanele sintactice; clasele de verbe

    ditranzitive care nu admit alternanele sintactice

    2. Proprietile semantice ale complementelor indirecte n construcia cu dative

    prepoziional i construcia cu dublu obiect.

    3. Proprietatea de [+animat] a complementului indirect n construcia cu dublu obiect.

    4. Proprietatea de [+afectat] a complementului indirect n construcia cu dublu obiect.

    5. Presupoziia de co-existen a referenilor celor dou complemente n construcia cu

    dublu obiect.

    6. Subiectul cu rol semantic de Agent sau Cauz n construcia cu dublu obiect.


    Criniceanu, I - 2007, Syntactic Alternations in English, Editura Romania de Maine,


    erban, D 1982, English Syntax, TUB, Bucureti

    Tenny, C 1987, Grammaticalizing Aspect and Affectedness, doctoral dissertation, MIT



    Cursul opional Alternane sintactice n englez analizeaz atat proprietile semantice cat

    i pe cele sintactice ale verbelor cu dublu obiect (de exemplu, give, send, promise, cook, buy)

  • 8/6/2019 Limba Engleza a Sinteza Sem2


    care pot forma dou construcii sintactice (alternane): construcia cu dativ prepoziional (John

    gave a ring to Mary) i construcia cu dublu obiect (John gave Mary a ring).

    1. Asimetriile c-command n construciile sintactice cu verbe ditranzitive.

    2. Mecanismul de acordare a cazului n cele dou construcii sintactice cu verbe

    ditranzitive (construcia cu dative prepoziional i construcia cu dublu obiect).

    3. Procesul de pasivizare i procesul de nominalizare n construciilor cu verbe


    4. Analiza derivaional a celor dou construcii cu verbe ditranzitive (Larson, 1988).

    5. Analiza non-derivaional a celor dou construcii cu verbe ditranzitive (Pesetsky,


    6. Proprietile sintactice ale complementului indirect fr prepoziie (Emonds i Ostler,



    Criniceanu, I - 2007, Syntactic Alternations in English, Editura Romania de Maine, Bucureti

    Emonds, J. and Ostler, R 2005, Thirty Years of Double Object Debates, Syncom (internet


    Larson, R 1988, On the Double Object Construction, Linguistic Inquiry 19

    Pesetsky, D 1995, Zero Syntax, MIT Press

    erban, D 1982, English Syntax, TUB, Bucureti