Article published in:Pejoration
Edited by Rita Finkbeiner, Jörg Meibauer and Heike Wiese
[Linguistik Aktuell/Linguistics Today 228] 2016
► pp. 269–300
Bla, bla, bla in German. A pejorative construction?
The paper provides a pragmatic analysis of utterances containing the syllable triple bla, bla, bla in German. In uttering bla, bla, bla, speakers may convey a derogatory stance towards someone else’s utterance. The question is addressed how this pejorative meaning aspect should be modeled in terms of the semantics/pragmatics divide: Is it contextually induced (inferential), or is it conventional (encoded)? Two main usage types are distinguished: sequentially non-restricted usages, and turn-initial reply usages. On the basis of a close analysis of the characteristic features of bla, bla, bla, it is claimed that the pejorative meaning aspect is to be described differently for the two main usages: While in sequentially non-restricted usages, the pejoration is a contextually induced implicature, in the turn-initial reply usage, it is a conventional aspect of this specific construction.
Keywords: German language, general extender, inferential meaning, Gricean pragmatics, conversational implicature, conventional meaning, dummy element, reduplication, quotation, meta-linguistic expression, polyphony, pejoration
Published online: 31 March 2016