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Logic Colloquium: Sarah Murray (Cornell)

Friday, November 5, 2021
2:30pm – 4:00pm

Storrs Campus

Join us in the Logic Colloquium for a talk by

Sarah Murray (Cornell):

The Logic of Speech Acts: Sentential Force vs Utterance Force

Across languages, sentences are marked for sentence type, or sentential mood, e.g., declarative and interrogative. These sentence types are associated with speech acts: assertions and questions, respectively. However, sentential mood does not determine the force of an utterance of a sentence. We argue that the semantic contribution of sentential mood is a relation that constrains utterance force. This relation takes a proposition as an argument and uses it to affect a component of the context. The semantic constraint together with additional pragmatic factors produce utterance force.

This logic for speech acts involves a semantics for the three main sentence types found cross-linguistically (declarative, interrogative, imperative) as well as a distinction between speaker commitment and discourse reference. In addition to a semantics for sentential mood, this approach provides a framework for a range of phenomena, including evidentials, parentheticals, hedges, and “speech act modifiers”. We conclude by discussing the Linguistic Modification Thesis, the idea that linguistic material can only influence utterance force by influencing sentential force.

All welcome!

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UConn Logic Group Colloquium (primary), Cognitive Science Program, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Expression, Communication, and the Origins of Meaning Research G, Institute for the Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Linguistics Department, Meaning Group, Philosophy Department, UConn Master Calendar

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