By Johan van der Auwera
This monograph bargains with the ‘aboutness’ of language. First, the feel during which language ‘is approximately’ or ‘reflects’ either truth and a psychological photo of truth is changed into a cornerstone of a reflectionist or ‘Speculative Grammarian’ semantics and pragmatics. moment, the ‘Speculative Grammar’ thought is made concrete in a logico-linguistic account of how language ‘is approximately’ the complete of fact in addition to approximately yes fractions of it. 3rd, the reflectionist point of view is used for a universalist account of how speech acts ‘are approximately’ their matters, subject matters, and foci.
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Extra info for What Do We Talk About When We Talk?: Speculative Grammar and the Semantics and Pragmatics of Focus
Similarly, formalism is untenable. It reduces to a combination of real ism, psychologism, and nominalism. Realism comes in because the struc- FOCUS AND LOGIC 43 tures the logician defines are the possible structures of his own uni verse and not, by any means, those of another universe. But psychologism comes in, too. Despite the fact that the formal structures of the wouldbe formalist logician are not intended as a description of valid reason ing, there is a "weak" psychologism for the formal structures are after all concocted in the logician's mind.
If pressed for an example of such a language, we do not really have to look very far. English will do. That a speaker of English normally conceives of an action from the point of view of the agent, is another way of saying that the active voice is unmarked, while the passive is marked. It must be emphasized that I am no longer speaking about the real, psychological focus now, nor about its pragmatic reflection, the pragmatic focus. My concern is with the semantic, genetic reflection of the pragmatic focus, the proper name for which is therefore "semantic focus" or, more tradition ally, "subject".
Again, case-theoretical questions can be answered in abstraction from the mental states of speakers. The same goes for many lexicological problems. In other words, a lot of lexicology is semantic. It is a semanticist's duty to describe the difference in meaning between, for example, "sleep", "doze", "snore", "nap", "hibernate", and "drowse". A fourth semantic job which is, I believe, largely a disguised mixture of the preceding ones, is to provide a theory of what sentences entail or semantically imply - and, if one believes that there is such a phe- 26 WHAT DO WE TALK ABOUT WHEN WE TALK ?