Subsentential utterances, ellipsis, and pragmatic enrichment
It is argued that genuinely subsentential phrases, such as a discourse-initial utterance of “From France” to indicate the provenance of an item, provide evidence for the reality of the pragmatic process of free enrichment. I consider recent attempts to treat such discourse-initial fragments as linguistic ellipsis of some kind while accommodating the difference between these cases and accepted types of ellipsis such as sluicing and gapping (for example Merchant 2007a,b). I claim that the mechanisms they posit to save an ellipsis story have no role in an account of performance (an account of the processes of utterance interpretation). An argument against the enrichment approach from the indeterminacy of the content of subsentential utterances is discussed, and refuted, and it is shown how this indeterminacy is accommodated in a contextualist pragmatic theory.
Keywords: contextualism, free enrichment, ellipsis, subsentential/nonsentential speech, hidden indexicals, truth-conditional content
Published online: 18 August 2009
Cited by 8 other publications
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