Front cover image for Words and the grammar of context

Words and the grammar of context

Paul Kay
In this collection, Paul Kay relates two usually separate traditions of semantic research: the meanings of words and the contextual determination of interpretation. Kay argues that the currently accepted views of semantic compositionality, Gricean effects, and indexicality are necessary, but not sufficient, to bridge the gap between the conventional significations of linguistic objects and the interpretations that sentences receive in contexts. Although not alone in this view, Kay's radical contribution to this general line of thought is his claim that the kind of theory of 'indexicality' required by the facts must be able to avail itself of the recursive (in Chomsky's sense 'creative') aspect of language. Expressions which have context-indexing force cannot be listed; they can be freely generated. Ultimately, Kay is interested in language as a medium of communication: attempting to understand the role of grammar in the activities of both speakers and interlocutors.
Print Book, English, ©1997
CSLI Publications, Stanford, Calif., ©1997