A Glossary of Semantics and Pragmatics by Alan Cruse

By Alan Cruse

This easy-to-use advisor illuminates key options and phrases in semantics and pragmatics and the examine of that means because it is conveyed via language.

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The inference from B’s answer, that Jane is not able to take a telephone call, is not an entailment. 2. They are ‘cancellable’ (or ‘defeasible’), that is, they are relatively weak inferences and can be denied by the speaker without contradiction. For instance, B’s reply in the following would normally be taken to mean ‘I don’t intend to tell you’: A: How old are you? B: That’s none of your business. If B added ‘But I’ll tell you, anyway’ this would cancel the inference, but B would not be guilty of self-contradiction.

Superlatives can be divided into ‘relative superlatives’, as in She is the cleverest of the three girls, and ‘absolute superlatives’, where, strictly speaking, no comparison is involved, just a high degree of the property, as in You have been most kind or His daughter is the sweetest little thing. Comparatives and superlatives may be committed or impartial, according to whether the positive form would also apply. For instance, longer and longest are impartial because an item so described need not qualify for the description long.

Epistemic modality see under modality equipollent antonyms A sub-type of antonym (2). As in the case of overlapping antonyms, each term operates on 793 02 pages 001-202 56 31/3/06 10:19 Page 56 A GLOSSARY OF SEMANTICS AND PRAGMATICS its own scale, but unlike the overlapping type the scales point outwards from a common zero value rather than overlap. For instance, there is a scale of hotness and a scale of coldness pointing in the opposite direction, the zero value of both scales corresponding to the absence of a temperature sensation.

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