Re: Pragmatic/Semantic

From: Rod Decker (
Date: Tue Mar 17 1998 - 17:04:06 EST

>I see problems with this definition, Rod. Maybe I'm misunderstanding
>something here, but could we not group semantics/pragmatics under the
>general heading of "semantics"? This sounds like "unmarked meaning" vs.
>usus loquendi to me. I am also puzzled when I read that the word would
>have an uncancelable meaning in "each context of use" vis-a'-vis
>semantics. I'd be interested to clear this up.

I suspect that you are looking at these terms in relationship to word
meanings (as in "lexical semantics"). I am using them in the context of
aspect theory in relationship to *grammar.* Thus the semantics of a verb
form/tense is the uncancelable meaning which the form carries. E.g., aorist
has the (uncancelable) semantic value of perfective aspect. Other factors
such as the temporal reference of the aorist are not semantic; they are
rather pragmatic factors that depend on the context (deixis, temporal
implicature, etc.). The larger category is not semantics but semiotics.
(I'm following Stephen C. Levinson, *Pragmatics* on this terminology.)


 Rodney J. Decker Baptist Bible Seminary
 Asst. Prof./NT P O Box 800 Clarks Summit PA 18411

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