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Word-Formation and Contextualism

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image of International Review of Pragmatics

While there is, under the heading of “morphopragmatics”, some research on the relation of pragmatics and word-formation, especially with a focus on diminutives, the major theoretical models of word-formation do not account for the word-formation/pragmatics interface in any systematic fashion. Moreover, in recent contextualist approaches to the semantics/pragmatics interface, the typical grammatical unit referred to is the sentence (including words that constitute a sentence), but not word structure or the morpheme. Drawing on morphological data from German, I will show the influence of pragmatic processes and principles on word-formation, arguing that word structures are also units that may be semantically underdetermined and thus are in need of pragmatic enrichment. Hence morphological theories have to account for pragmatic effects, and contextualist approaches have to account for other entities beyond the ones lying on the “what is said”-“what is implicated” spectrum.

Affiliations: 1: Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz, Germany


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