S-Space College of Humanities (인문대학) English Language and Literature (영어영문학과) Theses (Master's Degree_영어영문학과)
Even, Still, and But: A Distinctive Class of Background Meaning
Even, still, but의 배경 의미 탐구
- 인문대학 영어영문학과
- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 대학원
- 학위논문 (석사)-- 서울대학교 대학원 : 영어영문학과 영어학 전공, 2016. 8. 홍기선.
- This study aims to explore the background implications of English words even, still, and but: unlikelihood, expectation, and contrast, respectively, characterized by their subjectivity. In contrast with previous works, this study is particularly interested in the validity of different semantic and pragmatic approaches in characterizing the implications with respect to context.
The implications in focus have not been thoroughly investigated in previous works. Most pieces concerning these items are pragmatics book chapters on conventional implicature, which present the three words as typical triggers of conventional implicatures. Opposed to the conventional implicature approach, Bach (1999) argues that the notion itself is deceptive, and the implications vary in meaning according to the context. Neither view, however, analyzes distinctive properties of the context within which the implications occur nor attempts to verify their superordinate based on more widely supported and comprehensive approaches like pragmatic presupposition or not-at-issue content.
This work utilizes three frameworks to describe the phenomena: conventional implicature, pragmatic presupposition, and not-at-issue content. First, taking a conventional implicature approach, I demonstrate that although these implications are conventionally rooted, their specific meanings derive from the context of conversation. Second, within the framework of the common ground theory of pragmatic presuppositions, the implications are observed to have a common ground requirement and occur in extensive contexts stretching from immediate linguistic context to general world knowledge. These properties set them apart from informative and anaphoric presuppositions alike, which is problematic for the account of accommodation in the theory.
Finally, the implications are analyzed within the framework of the not-at-issue content theory (Tonhauser et al., 2013). Adopting the taxonomy system in Tonhauser et al. (2013), I propose that the implications of even, still, and but are projective not-at-issue contents of Class D, which show a strong contextual felicity constraint but no obligatory local effect. Class D in Tonhauser et al. (2013) includes a few discourse-related inferences, but not conventional items like the implications of even, still, and but. The heterogeneity is explained through a novel property of obligatory global effect, which may or may not accompany contents without obligatory local effect.
The last approach of not-at-issue contents, unlike the former two, provides with tools to better understand the phenomena. The presence of a strong contextual felicity constraint confirms the contextual dependence of the implications not sufficiently elucidated by either the conventional implicature or pragmatic presupposition view. In addition, the context which constrains the implications is determined to range from global to local, supporting its aforementioned extensiveness.
At the end of the day, this study has significant implications for the study of background meanings. First, it discovers that the implications of even, still, and but constitute a distinctive class of meaning with peculiar contextual properties, showing lack of clear membership in conventional implicatures and pragmatic presuppositions, and being heterogeneous even from Class D of not-at-issue contents. Next, it hints at inherent loopholes in the theories of conventional implicature and pragmatic presupposition which fail to construe the phenomena thought to be typical instances. Finally, it contributes to a unified understanding of not-at-issue contents by adding new candidates to Class D that are distinguished from other members and suggesting a possible subdivision criterion.
Keywords: Even, Still, But, Conventional implicature, Pragmatic presupposition, Not-at-issue content