Too counter-intuitive to believe? Pragmatic accounts of mixed quotation

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12 Scopus citations


Intuitively, an utterance of: (1) Alice said that life is "difficult to understand" would not be true unless Alice uttered the very words "difficult to understand." However, several recent theories of "mixed quotation" contend that the intuition here is a misleading one. According to these theories, the truth conditions of (1) are identical to those of: (2) Alice said that life is difficult to understand. On such accounts, the quotation marks in (1) are of only pragmatic significance. That Alice uttered the quoted words is something the speaker might well convey in uttering (1); it is not something literally expressed by the utterance itself. Whatever its theoretical motivations, these contentions are undeniably counter-intuitive and the pragmaticist owes us an explanation of where they come from. This paper presents and evaluates various strategies that a pragmaticist with respect to mixed quotation might appeal to in an effort to explain the source of the counter-intuitive consequences of his theory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)167-186
Number of pages20
JournalBelgian Journal of Linguistics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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