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24.954: Pragmatics in Linguistic Theory

About the course:

In this course, we’ll be exploring phenomena at the borderline between semantics and pragmatics. At a broad level of abstraction, we can take semantics vs. pragmatics to be a distinction between linguistic and extra-linguistic factors governing interpretation and language use. A recurring question will be: what is within the purview of semantics proper, and what can (or should) be explained with reference to extra-grammatical factors.

Empirical phenomena which we hope to discuss include presupposition, anaphora, implicature, and questions. We’ll discuss some central theoretical developments in the field, such as Stalnaker’s notion of common ground, the dynamic turn in semantic theory, and various proposals pertaining to scalar strengthening.

Listeners are welcome. Requirements for credit will be detailed in the first session.