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How to Signal Lexical Concept Adjustment: A Relevance-Theoretic Perspective on Hedging

How to Signal Lexical Concept Adjustment: A Relevance-Theoretic Perspective on Hedging The goal of the paper is to show that relevance theory provides a theoretically sound framework for describing properties of expressions traditionally known as hedges in a consistent manner. In relevance-theoretic terms, hedges may be regarded as special linguistic expressions developed to guide hearers in the interpretation process, indicating the need for adjusting lexically encoded concepts. A closer look at several representative hedges: sort of , like , typical , regular and real , reveals that hedges may be re-classified according to how they interact with ad hoc concepts. Whether they are conceptual or procedural, hedges may signal: broadening ( sort of , regular , real ), narrowing ( typical ) or either of these processes ( like ). With regard to broadening, it turns out that at least two different types of this process may be distinguished, illustrated by the hedges sort of and regular/real , which introduce approximations and metaphors, respectively. It is also proposed that the classification should be expanded to accommodate Lasersohn’s “slack regulators” such as exactly (and possibly very ) as expressions encoding a procedure to restrict the extent of broadening. Finally, properties and behaviour of different types of hedges may shed some light on the nature of procedural meaning. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png International Review of Pragmatics Brill

How to Signal Lexical Concept Adjustment: A Relevance-Theoretic Perspective on Hedging

International Review of Pragmatics , Volume 6 (2): 240 – Jan 1, 2014

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
Copyright 2014 by Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands.
ISSN
1877-3095
eISSN
1877-3109
DOI
10.1163/18773109-00602003
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The goal of the paper is to show that relevance theory provides a theoretically sound framework for describing properties of expressions traditionally known as hedges in a consistent manner. In relevance-theoretic terms, hedges may be regarded as special linguistic expressions developed to guide hearers in the interpretation process, indicating the need for adjusting lexically encoded concepts. A closer look at several representative hedges: sort of , like , typical , regular and real , reveals that hedges may be re-classified according to how they interact with ad hoc concepts. Whether they are conceptual or procedural, hedges may signal: broadening ( sort of , regular , real ), narrowing ( typical ) or either of these processes ( like ). With regard to broadening, it turns out that at least two different types of this process may be distinguished, illustrated by the hedges sort of and regular/real , which introduce approximations and metaphors, respectively. It is also proposed that the classification should be expanded to accommodate Lasersohn’s “slack regulators” such as exactly (and possibly very ) as expressions encoding a procedure to restrict the extent of broadening. Finally, properties and behaviour of different types of hedges may shed some light on the nature of procedural meaning.

Journal

International Review of PragmaticsBrill

Published: Jan 1, 2014

Keywords: relevance theory; hedges; ad hoc concepts; procedural meaning; broadening; narrowing

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