We present experimental evidence showing that there is considerable variation between the rates at which scalar expressions from different lexical scales give rise to upper-bounded construals. We investigated two factors that might explain the variation between scalar expressions: first, the availability of the lexical scales, which we measured on the basis of association strength, grammatical class, word frequencies and semantic relatedness, and, secondly, the distinctness of the scalemates, which we operationalized on the basis of semantic distance and boundedness. It was found that only the second factor had a significant effect on the rates of scalar inferences.
The paper discusses the results of a series of experimental studies on scalar inferences, which is part of linguistic pragmatics. The findings argue for intrascalar and interscalar diversity of scalar inferences. Moreover, it shows that adjectival scalar inferences are derived at a relatively low rate.
The focus of the proceedings is on the sub-disciplines of general and applied linguistics, such as semantics, pragmatics, text and corpus linguistics, discourse analysis, language acquisition, lexicology, lexicography, translation and interpretation, and the other.
The article is devoted to the problem of the structure of pragmatic constraints. The fact that gricean maxims are neither pure descriptive rules nor pure prescriptive ones is one of the puzzles of early pragmatic theories. I try to clarify the problem of ontological status of pragmatic constraints by means of game theory and optimality theory.
The Incongruity Theory of Humor in its different forms states that the cause of laughter is the perception of something that violates our mental patterns and expectations. It seems particularly true of comic absurdity which is based on a deadpan violation of established norms of logic and convention. The current paper explores linguistic mechanisms that underlie the comic effects in the works of Mikhail Zoshchenko, one of the great satirists of Soviet Russia. Zoshchenko is well-known for his simplified writing style which imitates the language and mentality of “the simple people” while at the same time mocking the nascent Soviet officialdom and its demands for the popular accessibility of art. The paper considers Zoshchenko’s narrative through the prism of conventional implicatures (Grice 1961, Karttunen and Peters 1979, Horn 2004, Potts 2005, 2007), or meanings that are not directly stated in the utterances, but implied by the speaker; e.g. Even John solved the problem implies that it was it was not expected of John to solve it. In successful communication, implicit meanings form the shared background of conversational partners; violation of these shared norms may be used to create comical effect. One of the most conventionalized societal norms and one Zoshchenko most frequently violates is the value of human life and, hence, solemn attitude to death. The narrator in Zoshchenko’s stories repeatedly implies otherwise, thus creating a comical portrait of the mentality of Homo Soveticus. Consider a quote from “The story about a greedy dairy woman”: “So, her husband died. At first she probably took it lightly. - A-a, she thought – no big deal… But then she realized – yes, this is a big deal!... Eligible bachelors are not running around in bunches. And then, of course, she started grieving” (shift in emphasis; the cause for grief is not the husband’s death but its inconvenience for the surviving wife). The story “A restless old man” (about an old man who lives in a communal flat and falls into lethargic stupor taken by his family and neighbors for death and then after waking up really dies) is based on violating the same conventional implicature. Throughout the story the narrator implicitly creates the image of death as an inconvenient occurrence and of a deceased person as an unwanted piece of waste. The harshly comic effect is achieved by implicatures about the shallow emotional impact of death (“And then of course there is aggravation: because the room is small and here is a superfluous element”, “If my husband, this surviving idiot, ordered the hearse right away, then the wait for it would have only been three days”; “The summoned doctor reassured everybody that now the old man is bona fide dead”); by violation of semantic compatibility rules whereby the seemingly dead old man is alternately referred to as an animate being (“The dead man is lying and demanding the last tribute to be paid to him”, “The babysitter is afraid to be in the room where a dead person is living”) or inanimate object (“There is so little space that there is even nowhere to pile up the old man”; “I am going to pile him up in the hall, let him wait for the hearse there”).
The paper considers the senses of the Russian adjective poslednij ‘last’. Its polysemy is analyzed as deriving from a certain core semantic structure that is common to all its meanings. The core structure has two semantic valencies – of a sequence and of a sequence element. Modifications of the core structure, including additional valencies (point of reference and landmark) account for its polysemy, as well as for diversity of its collocational and syntactic properties. The paper also demonstrates the role of pragmatics and lexicalization of grammatical and syntactic forms in disambiguating different meanings of poslednij, against the backdrop of its English correlates.
This paper deals with the Semantics/Pragmatics distinction in a contrastive ethnolinguistic aspect. I argue for the validity of this distinction based on cross-linguistic data. My claim is that the specificity of the so-called language key words [Wierzbicka 1990:15-17] - linguospecific items particularly representative of a given language speakersђ mentality - is due to pragmatic rather than semantic peculiarities. These pragmatic peculiarities distinguish the key words both from their synonyms within the same language and their counterparts in other languages. The languages under discussion are Russian and English, analyzed within a combined frame of Integral Language Description model [Apresjan 1995:8-238] and Wierzbickaђs ethnolinguistic approach.
The paper is focused on the study of reaction of italian literature critics on the publication of the Boris Pasternak's novel "Doctor Jivago". The analysys of the book ""Doctor Jivago", Pasternak, 1958, Italy" (published in Russian language in "Reka vremen", 2012, in Moscow) is given. The papers of italian writers, critics and historians of literature, who reacted immediately upon the publication of the novel (A. Moravia, I. Calvino, F.Fortini, C. Cassola, C. Salinari ecc.) are studied and analised.
In the article the patterns of the realization of emotional utterances in dialogic and monologic speech are described. The author pays special attention to the characteristic features of the speech of a speaker feeling psychic tension and to the compositional-pragmatic peculiarities of dialogic and monologic text.