The semantics-pragmatics interface
Lecturer: Uli Sauerland, ZAS Berlin
In the 1970s, a sequential view of how semantics and pragmatics interact emerged (Grice, Searle): semantics assigns a logical meaning to a sentence which usage conditions on communication make reference to. Despite its strong intuitive appeal, this view frayed as soon as linguists attempted to formally specify the pragmatic conditions. A conception where “semantic” and “pragmatic” operations are interleaved with each other fares empirically better, but leaves the “pragmatic” conditions without grounding in communication. I primarily present this conundrum, but then espouse a alternate view of pragmatics based on cognitive efficiency following Meyer (2013) and the thought uniqueness idea of Sauerland (2018).