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Semantics versus Pragmatics

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Chapter Summary

Although the literature which discusses the relations between semantics and pragmatics is voluminous what is supposed to distinguish the two categories is only rarely made explicit; consequently the terms are often applied with less consistency than one might wish. For it might seem that many of the sentence concepts which result from these conversions are classified as semantic and yet incorporate essentially pragmatic information. It implies more specifically for the theories we have sketched in this paper that they too must ultimately compare in regard of their faithfulness to the ways in which speakers determine the truth conditions of those sentences that the theories deal with. Linguistic theory has the task to account for those aspects of language the knowledge of which is common to all competent speakers.

Keywords:language; pragmatics; semantics; sentence



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