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Current Issues in Spanish Linguistics: Semantics and Pragmatics

Zurück zum Heft: Romanistik in Geschichte und Gegenwart 27,2
DOI: 10.46771/9783967692693_1



This article offers a contemporary critical overview of both accounts of linguistic meaning, Semantics and Pragmatics, and the different ways they complement each other in Spanish Linguistics. Employing as examples a number of polemic case studies in Spanish (the semantic ambiguities of cierto and otro, the determination of algunos’ reference, the pragmatic effect of discourse markers, and the discrepancy of case in psychological verbs depending upon their interpretation), the article criticizes both the simple recognition of a gap between Semantics and Pragmatics and the tendency to overuse implicatures as the only pragmatic mechanism capable of explaining linguistic meaning. The reason is that neither can linguist meaning be reduced to linguistic content (“what is said”), nor can speaker intentions explain the meaning of every utterance (“what is meant”). The chapter then concludes that, since both Semantics and Pragmatics are comprehensive studies about linguistic meaning (even though they serve two different purposes), different inferential patterns can be established in order to identify a common ground based on which the hearer often reconstrues the meaning of the utterance (“what is interpreted”).