Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Publisher Login

New from Oxford University Press!

ad

Style, Mediation, and Change

Edited by Janus Mortensen, Nikolas Coupland, and Jacob Thogersen

Style, Mediation, and Change "Offers a coherent view of style as a unifying concept for the sociolinguistics of talking media."


New from Cambridge University Press!

ad

Intonation and Prosodic Structure

By Caroline Féry

Intonation and Prosodic Structure "provides a state-of-the-art survey of intonation and prosodic structure."


The LINGUIST List is dedicated to providing information on language and language analysis, and to providing the discipline of linguistics with the infrastructure necessary to function in the digital world. LINGUIST is a free resource, run by linguistics students and faculty, and supported by your donations. Please support LINGUIST List during the 2017 Fund Drive.

Academic Paper


Title: The pragmatic variable: Toward a procedural interpretation
Author: Marina Terkourafi
Email: click here TO access email
Homepage: http://faculty.las.illinois.edu/mt217/
Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Linguistic Field: Pragmatics; Sociolinguistics
Abstract: Labov defined the linguistic variable as "a class of variants which are ordered along a continuous dimension and whose position is determined by an independent linguistic or extralinguistic variable" (1966:15). A precondition for identifying surface forms as variants of a single variable is semantic, or truth-conditional, equivalence. This requirement proves hard to apply beyond (morpho)phonology, and was subsequently relaxed into one of functional equivalence. The focus of this article is pragmatic variation and how we should interpret functional equivalence to account for this. It is proposed that the variants of a pragmatic variable share a common procedural meaning, defined as a set of instructions guiding the inferential phase of utterance interpretation. Recasting the core meaning of pragmatic variables in procedural terms allows us to co-examine alternating forms that may express different referential meanings, remaining true to the spirit of Labov's proposal, who saw linguistic variables as socially motivated clusterings of forms. (Pragmatic variation, functional equivalence, procedural meaning, Relevance Theory)

CUP AT LINGUIST

This article appears IN Language in Society Vol. 40, Issue 3.

Return to TOC.

Add a new paper
Return to Academic Papers main page
Return to Directory of Linguists main page