Friday, April 22, 2011

Argumentics: excellent blog on pragmatics and argumentation theory

Argumentics has only been around since late 2009 and already has over 200 posts. I don't know who writes them (I can't recognise him/her from the profile photo -- see below) but he/she really knows his/her stuff, and can explain it well too. Two highlights:

The pragmatics of what is said

Ljubljana meets Ducrot

Mr/Ms Argumentics

More recently there is coverage of formal semantics, with a propositional logic quiz, and lovely explanations of lambda and higher order types.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

This post is as good as itself

A post on the Guardian sports blog contains two new types of tautology.

In work on tautologies, in philosophy/semantics/pragmatics, it's normal to give examples like 'War is war', 'Boys will be boys', 'If it rains, it rains', and 'Either he'll come or he won't'. It's also normal to point out that tautologies can have these forms:

Equative: e is e; an e is an e
Conditional: If P then P
Disjunctive: Either P or not P

It's not so easy to think of tautologies that have forms not on this short list (of course with a bit of propositional logic you can come up with as many tautological forms as you like, but what we're after here are sentences that someone might actually produce).

The new examples are after the jump.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Dromiceiomimus explains exclusive-we

... better than me?? Here's her explanation.

Here's mine:

Number and person [on pronouns] interact in interesting ways. One example is the first person plural (‘we’/’us’), which usually picks up from context a set containing the speaker and sometimes but not always containing the hearer too. Some languages mark this inclusive-we/exclusive-we distinction linguistically, either on the verb, or with different forms of the pronoun. For example in Taiwanese, ‘góan’ means we-excluding-you and ‘lán’ means we-including-you. (Allott 2010, p. 57)

T-rex's exclusive-you is not, as far as I know, lexicalised or otherwise encoded in any language, and, not unconnectedy, I suspect, it seems impossible to use 'you' to communicate it.

Allott, N. (2010). Key Terms in Pragmatics. Continuum.