Meaning of words – meaning of speech acts Approaches to meaning • Meaning as – – – – – Reference Logical form Context and use Conceptual structure Culture » from Forrester 1996, 42 • NB: No either … or … issue, rather depending on research interest and / or context of application Reference • In Fregean terms: – Sense : meaning – Reference : truth-value • Less restrictive: – Words refer to entities and relationships within a world • One-to-one or via a conceptual structure • Entities and relationships: – Persons/objects, events, space, time, modality Logical form • Meaning : truth-conditions (of a sentence) • In everyday terms: we know the meaning of a sentence if we know under which circumstances what is said literally (its proposition) is true – (1) The arrow hits the target. – (1) is true if, and only if • xy ((arrow(x) target(y)) hit (x,y)) • Relates to Philosophy of Language as well as Artificial Intelligence applications Context and use • Meaning and use are inseparable • Utterances provoke “activation” of presuppositions • Presuppositions: – Semantic: invoked by lexemes and syntactic structure, e.g. (1) presupposes that there is an arrow, a target and a hitting-relation between both – Pragmatic: (2) The baby cried. The mother picked it up. – (2) presupposes, e.g. that the baby stopped crying, it lay in a cot, a pram, … but not on the kitchen table … Conceptual structure • Pre- / non-linguistic mental models of the world and elements of it – E.g. spatial relations, school: building, school: institution • Explains why we can refer to abstract entities – vs. prototype semantics – Is there prototypical love? Or more pragmatically: there are good fish and bad fish Culture • Acquisition of cultural practices and language acquisition are closely related, parallel processes • Rationale: Culture shapes the way we think; the way we think shapes the way we speak (what we have to and are able to express in words) • But beware of the Great Eskimo Vocabulary Hoax (Pullum, 1991) The Great Eskimo Vocabulary Hoax • “It is quite obvious that in the culture of the Eskimos … snow is of great enough importance to split up the conceptual sphere that corresponds to one word and one thought in English into several distinct classes …” • “It is quite obvious that in the culture of the printers … fonts are of great enough importance to split up the conceptual sphere that corresponds to one word and one thought among non-printers into several distinct classes …” Pullum 1991 perception Extra-linguistic event From Semantics to Pragmatics • What do sentences mean in the context of actual conversation? • How do participants in interactions convey this meaning to other participants? • What are the organising principles of conversation / verbal interaction? • What else is conveyed in interaction settings? • These topics rest on the intersection between semantics, pragmatics, sociolinguistics, sociology, and possibly psychology and psycholinguistics. Grice’s maxims of conversation Levinson 1983, 101/2 Conversational Implicatures • A: Have you seen Rebecca? • B: There’s a pink mustang at the back of Paul’s flat. Forrester 1996, 52 • B’s utterance forces A to draw certain inferences assuming that B is not violating the cooperative principle. • Levinson 1983, 103: “people will interpret what we say as conforming to the maxims on at least some level” and • the maxims of conversation “describe rational means for conducting co-operative exchanges.” More on implicatures • Generalised implicatures – I walked into a house. Implicates: – The house was not my house. • Particularised implicatures – The dog looks very happy. Implicates: – Perhaps the dog has eaten the roast beef. Only e.g. in the following context: – A: What on earth happened to the roast beef? – B: The dog is looking very happy. • Conventional implicatures – Do not affect truth conditions of a sentence – Cannot be detached from the word / sentence • E.g. German du/Sie distinction • ?Du bist der Professor. Vs. Sie sind der Professor. Flouting maxims • A: Teheran’s in Turkey, isn’t it, teacher? • B: And London’s in Armenia, I suppose. – Quality • War is war. – Quality (Tautology). • Johnny: Hey Sally, let’s play marbles. • Mother: How is your homework getting along Johnny? – Relevance • Miss Singer produced a series of sounds corresponding closely to the score of an aria from Rigoletto. – Manner (and others) • Special case: Metaphors, particularised, yet quite context independent – England is as sinking ship. Computing implicatures Levinson 1983, 113/4 Speech to interaction: Speech acts (Austin /Searle) • Locutionary act - what is said • Illocutionary act - speech act • Perlocutionary act - effect of speech act • Felicity Conditions (for promises): – Preparatory conditions • Hearer would prefer S doing the act • It is not obvious that S would do the act anyway – Sincerity condition • Speaker intends to do the act – Essential condition • Speaker intends that the utterance will place him/her under an obligation to do a future act Types of Speech Acts • Representatives – Commit speaker to the truth of the expressed proposition • • • Directives – Attempts by the speaker to get the addressee to do something • • • Commit speaker to some future course of action • • • promising Threatening Offering Expressives – Express a psychological state • • • • • requesting Questioning Commissives – • asserting Concluding thanking apologising welcoming Congratulating Declaratives – Effect immediate changes in the institutional state of affairs, usually involving elaborate extralinguistic institutions • • • • excommunicating declaring war christening firing from employment Speaker’s intentions and hearer’s perceptions 1. Mother: Where are your boots? 2. Son: In the closet 3. Mother: I want you to put them on right now! (1) Intended as an order, interpreted as a question. Or response (2) is joke? (2) Interpreted as a refusal to obey her order. Or indicate that joking is not appropriate Maybe all of these are present? Context is critical. Speech acts to Joint actions • A joint project is a joint action projected by one of its participants and taken up by the others. (Clark 1996, 191) • Principle of joint construal: For each signal the speaker and the addressee try to create a joint construal of what the speaker is to be taken to mean by it. (Clark 1996, 212) • Common Ground (shared bases): – “p is common ground for members of community C if and only if: – 1. every member of C has information that basis b holds; – 2. b indicates to every member of C that every member of C has information that b holds; – 3. b indicates to members of C that p.” (Clark 1996, 94) • Common Ground (mutual beliefs): – “1. A and B each believe that situation s holds – 2. s indicates to A and to B that A and B each believe that s holds – 3. s indicates to A and to B that there is (object o) between them” (Clark 1996, 97) jAct: abdominal tumor resection jAct(jA1 - jAn) jAn+x: providing instrument 1 cop overholt- jP1: proposal (1.0) isr with with with thread? jP1: compliancejP1’: alteration cop don’t mind- er no. Just an overholt jP1’: compliancejP1’: alteration i just want to lift at this stage, you know? jP2: proposal m=hm. jP2: confirmation 5 isr jAn+y: closure of a renal vessel (3.0) cop could you set one? jP1: proposal/request ast what do you want now? an overholt? jP1: declination jP1’: alteration/proposal yes- size eight; jP1’: confirmation ast you better first take a small one, don’t you? jP2: proposal isr now, come on- jP3: proposal/break cop hm- i hardly get (.)out of here; you know, jP3: alteration (jP2: declination/break) ast hm=hm. jP3: confirmation 10 cop 15 cop could you perhaps= (.) jP1(re-start): proposal/request isr =and that one’s a little bit too big, eh? jP2’(re-start)/jP4: alteration/proposal cop (works out) [alright that way.] jP4: compliance/alteration ast [alright that way.] (-) jP4: compliance I’ll close it then, okay?= jP1(re-start): confirmation =ye=ah. jP4 (?) /1(re-start): confirmation 20 cop Adjacency Pairs • Adjacency Pairs (Levinson 1983, 303) – are sequences of two utterances that are: • • • • • adjacent produced by different speakers ordered as a first part and a second part typed, so that a particular first part requires a particular second (...) [production of a first part requires closing a TCU and a next speaker to produce a second part] (PG) • Clark 1996, 201: – „1.Adjacency pairs consist of two ordered actions – a first part and a second part. – 2. The two parts are performed by different agents A and B. – 3. The form and content of the second part is intended, among other things, to display B’s construal of the first part for A. – 4. The first part projects uptake of a joint task by the second part.“ Adjacency pairs Conversation Analysis – Basic Terms • • • • Turn Turn-taking Turn constructional unit (TCU) Transition relevance place (TRP) – – – – – – – – intonation rising or falling drawl on final syllable stereotyped sequences drop in pitch or loudness completion of syntactic clause termination of gestural movement tags such as “you know” hold the floor with “attempt suppression signal” • (following Duncan, 1972) CA – Basic Terms • Rules for transition – current speaker can select next speaker – non-selection allows for self-selection – the current speaker can continue, but is not obliged to • Projectability • Insertion Sequences • Conditional Relevance Conversational Organisation • Preference Organisation – Preferred vs. Dispreferred (marked vs. unmarked) – Repairs • Sequential Organisation – (pre-)sequences – openings / closings • Topical Organisation Accountability for non-response Preference organisation Closing sequence New topic introduction Social meaning of verbal actions • Deixis: sets what is said into a relation to the speaker’s position • • • • Person deixis – Who am I? Spatial deixis – Where is here? Temporal deixis – When is now? Discourse deixis – Where are we in a narrative universe? Social deixis • What we say and how we say it conveys our relationship to other participants in an interaction. • Examples: – Politeness phenomena / social honorifics – Code-switching / register change Politeness phenomena • Accounting for status (often combined with age) differences – Du/Sie distinction (also e.g. in French and Dutch; but Danish: ‘Sie’ equivalent almost only used to address the Queen) – Honorifics such as: Ma’am, Your Honour, Your Excellency, Father, … – Some languages, e.g. Japanese require some kind of addressee honorifics in almost any utterance – Producing more elaborate utterances, e.g. in requests • ‘face’ maintaining acts – E.g. hedging (similar to requests) • Can be more or less formulaic Code-switching / register change • Using a language variety according to social setting, e.g. informal v. business or friends v. government officials • Switching between different languages according to addressee and / or situation – Kenyan example: Luyia when chatting with bus driver, Swahili when negotiating fare, English when requesting change to be given – Professional contexts Examples: professional contexts • PIC: kannst du den glide path angle mal selecte? • F/O: set speed brake one eight zero (.) tschuldigung. one nIne zero. • PIC: one niner zero. • F/O: guet. wir ham bereits final configuration. landing check three greens. • PIC: jawohl ah- (.) landing- (---) all green. ja.