Expressive Content and Speaker Dependence

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Expressives are lexical items which encode attitudes. Original semantic theories for expressives assumed that this attitude was always the speaker’s, however, a number of apparent counter-examples have motived recent theorists to endorse the view that expressives can be shifted to non-speaker-oriented readings under which they express attitudes of a salient judge, distinct from the speaker. We argue that this rejection of speaker dependence for expressives is too hasty, arguing that: (1) the counter-examples are uncon- vincing, and (2) reflection on other puzzling uses of expressives that we introduce here suggest that speaker dependence ought to be preserved as a universal semantic feature of expressive content. Apparent cases of perspective shifting, we argue, are best understood as resulting from pragmatic, rather than semantic, operations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-112
Number of pages15
JournalLinguistic and Philosophical Investigations
Early online date10 Aug 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 10 Aug 2018


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