Article published in:The Wealth and Breadth of Construction-Based Research
Edited by Timothy Colleman, Frank Brisard, Astrid De Wit, Renata Enghels, Nikos Koutsoukos, Tanja Mortelmans and María Sol Sansiñena
[Belgian Journal of Linguistics 34] 2020
► pp. 225–234
Semantics and pragmatics in Construction Grammar
This squib provides a theoretical discussion on the use of the terms semantics and pragmatics in Construction Grammar. In the literature, the difference between semantics and pragmatics is often conceptualized either in terms of conventionality or in terms of truth-conditionality (Huang 2014, 299). It will be shown that, even though constructionists claim that there is no semantics–pragmatics distinction, both these underlying concepts are central to the study of constructions. Therefore, the aim is twofold. First, in keeping with Cappelle (2017), it will be argued that constructionists should make more explicit the distinction between the two types of (encoded) meaning. Second, it will be shown that constructionists need to be more terminologically consistent and agree on how to use the terms semantics and pragmatics. Following Depraetere (2019), I will argue that the terms semantics and pragmatics are most explanatory when defined in truth-conditional terms. In this way, finer-grained understanding of the meaning of constructions can be achieved.
Keywords: semantics, pragmatics, conventions, truth-conditions, Construction Grammar
Published online: 28 May 2021
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