Article published in:Commitment
Edited by Philippe De Brabanter and Patrick Dendale
[Belgian Journal of Linguistics 22] 2008
► pp. 1–14
Commitment: The term and the notions
This volume brings together thoroughly reworked versions of a selection of papers presented at the conference The Notion of Commitment in Linguistics, held at the University of Antwerp in January 2007. It is the companion volume to a collection of essays in French to be published in Langue Française and devoted to La notion de prise en charge. Commitment is a close counterpart toprise en charge, and two contributors, Celle and Lansari, use it essentially as a translation of the French term. However, commitment and its verbal cognates (to commit NP to and to be committed to) do not cover the exact same range of meanings as prise en charge. For a thorough assessment of the French term, we refer readers to the introduction to the Langue Française volume. In the present article, we focus entirely on commitment.The term is widely used in at least three major areas of linguistic enquiry:1 studies on illocutionary acts, studies on modality and evidentiality, and the formal modelling of dialogue/argumentation. In spite of its frequent use, the notion has rarely been theorised and has never been the subject of a monograph or a specialised reader. In keeping with this is the fact that none of the many dictionaries and encyclopaedias of linguistics or philosophy that we have consulted devotes a separate entry to it.Section 1 of this introduction briefly reviews what commitment means in the three fields just mentioned. Now and then, with respect to a particular issue, pointers are given to which articles in this collection have something to say about the issue. In section 2, we take a lexical and syntactic look at the ways in which the contributors to the present volume use the term. In section 3, we outline each of the contributions, with a focus on the role that commitment plays in them.
Published online: 15 December 2008
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