April 8, 2022 // The Biblical Languages Podcast
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In this episode of the Biblical Languages Podcast, Kevin Grasso shares core concepts that are essential for doing the task of pragmatics.
- Key terms
- Conventional and conversational implicatures
- Speech acts, illocutionary act, and sentential mood
- Common ground and presupposition
- Information structure (topic and focus)
- Morphology-pragmatics interface
- Syntax-pragmatics interface
- Semantics-pragmatics interface
Conventional and Conversational Implicatures
- Conversational implicature: "Some/Most of the kids went to the park. +> Not all kids went to the park."
- Conventional implicature: "The kids want to go outside, and/but it is raining."
- Quantity - amount of information
- Quality - truth of information
- Relation - relevance of information
- Manner - how information is conveyed
- We make real inferences based on how something is said (so it would be wrong to interpret language without these inferences).
- Maxims may be flouted to convey additional information, e.g. Elijah's use of sarcasm (1 Kings 18:27)
Speech Acts, Illocutionary Act, and Sentential Mood
- I want pizza.
- Can you give me another slice of pizza?
- Give me another slice of pizza.
Common Ground and Presupposition
a. I have a cat, and I had to bring my cat to the vet.
b. #I had to bring my cat to the vet, and I have a cat.
a. I had to bring my cat to the vet because it was sick.
b. ?I had to bring my gorilla to the vet because it was sick.
a. Susie (doesn't) know that her husband is returning today.
b. Susie (doesn't) believe that her husband is returning today.
- Information is organized and asserted or presupposed based on what we think the addressee will easily accommodate or not.
- Presupposition still holds under negation.
Information Structure (Topic and Focus)
- My daughter wants pizza vs. MY daughter wants pizza vs. My DAUGHTER wants pizza vs. My daughter WANTS pizza vs. My daughter wants PIZZA
- a. Aristotle Onassis married Jacqueline Kennedy.
b. Jacqueline Kennedy married Aristotle Onassis. (Krifka 2007:41)
- In terms of what my daughter wants, she (always) wants pizza.
- Focus may be marked in different ways.
- Subjects are often topics.
- Frame-setting is not topic (Casus pendens).
Morphemes may mark certain pragmatic meanings.
- Ruth 4:17: יֻלַּד בֵּן לְנָעֳמִי
Certain syntactic positions are associated with pragmatic meanings.
Scalar implicatures are real, and you need a good reason to explain them away.
Where to listen
Listen to the full episode, share your feedback, and let us know topics you'd like to hear on future episodes!
The Biblical Languages Podcast hosts discussions and interviews related to learning the biblical languages and issues relevant to biblical exegesis. Episodes cover topics in 4 major categories: language acquisition, linguistics, cultural backgrounds, and exegesis.
Listen & subscribe here: https://biblingo.org/podcast/
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