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Modular, cellular, integral

a pragmatic elephant?

Jacob L. Mey

pp. 353-369

When talking about reference, our immediate reaction is to ask what is referred to, by whom, and how. Reference can be made in writing or in speech; in the former case, I can "refer" by putting together a list of "references' which will explain those references that are not immediately clear from the written context. In speech, by contrast, we need other means of referring (e.g., by quoting, by ostensive pointing, by the use of indexicals, by innuendo, by relying on the context, and so on). What this chapter wants to do is to connect reference with the idea that all speech acts, including those having to do with referring, are situated, that is to say, their explanation and understanding happens, so to speak, from the "outside" (the context) inward, rather than from the "inside" (the mind of the speaker) outward. The corollary of such a view is that speech acts, as such, do not exist; consequently, reference always happens in the form of a situated "pointing," where the activity of referring always is a 'situated" one, possible only in a total context of understanding: "the whole in which the components work" (Weigand 2006, pp. 59–87; quoted Capone 2010, p. 2863).

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-12616-6_13

Full citation:

Mey, J. L. (2016)., Modular, cellular, integral: a pragmatic elephant?, in A. Capone & J. L. Mey (eds.), Interdisciplinary studies in pragmatics, culture and society, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 353-369.

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