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Imagination and Convention
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Imagination and Convention: Distinguishing Grammar and Inference in Language

Ernie Lepore and Matthew Stone


Communication exploits conventional rules, deliberate choices, and many other faculties. How do hearers manage to understand speakers? And how do speakers manage to shape hearers’ understanding? A common answer invokes simple meanings and general ways to reinterpret them, as in H. P. Grice's theory of conversational implicature. This book shows that such approaches are unsatisfactory. They fail to account for the linguistic knowledge that goes into resolving speech act ambiguities, placing constraints on context, and articulating the different functions of different parts of utterances. At the ... More

Keywords: language, semantics, pragmatics, ambiguity, linguistic knowledge, imagination

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2014 Print ISBN-13: 9780198717188
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198717188.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Ernie Lepore, author
Rutgers University

Matthew Stone, author
Rutgers University