The semantics and pragmatics of intensification: Logic, discourse and social meaning
Language and Logic (Advanced)
Second week, from 14:00 to 15:30
Whereas early work in formal semantics focused on aspects of meaning that avail themselves to logical analysis, the past couple of decades have seen formal endeavours to reconcile logical, context-dependent, and social components of meaning. The resulting theoretical tools and empirical methods enable us to tackle complex and challenging phenomena such as expressivity, vagueness, scalarity, subjectivity, and the managing of truth-conditional and non-truth-conditional information in discourse. In this course, we will focus on intensifiers like
very, really and totally, as a case study for a group of linguistic expressions whose semantic and pragmatic contribution seems to bear on all of the aforementioned challenging phenomena. While the focus is on this specific set of expressions, the goal of this course is to provide students with a diverse set of empirical methodologies and analytical tools which can then be applied to other linguistic phenomena that encapsulate different dimensions of meaning.