A Cognitive, Usage-Based View on Lexical Pragmatics: Response to Hall

Abstract : In her chapter on lexical pragmatics, Alison Hall aims at resolving the problem of contextual modulation of word meaning, where the latter is often seen as highly schematic and invariant across contexts. She suggests a model that preserves the schematic meaning yet allows for stored contextualised conceptual clusters. However, as we will show, her notion of " context-free decoded word meaning " leads to theoretical inconsistencies and does not give a sufficiently organised view on processes of contextual modulation which is often more systematic than Hall's account suggests. In fact, her account is only one step away from a usage-based, cognitive approach which we argue presents a more viable alternative to answer the fundamental question of lexical (or linguistic) meaning and contextual modulation. The usage-based perspective of grammar as a structured inventory of symbolic units allows the seamless integration of both schematic (i.e., contextually neutral) meanings and specific (contextually-enriched) instantiations. In addition, its encyclopaedic view on meaning and its integration of general semantic operations like metaphor and metonymy resolve some of the vexed issues that have troubled linguistic theories when dealing with contextual modulation and/or semantic multi-plicity.
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Maarten Lemmens. A Cognitive, Usage-Based View on Lexical Pragmatics: Response to Hall. Ilse Depraetere & Raphael Salkie. Semantics and Pragmatics: Drawing a Line, 4, Springer, pp.101-114, 2017, 978-3-319-32245-2. ⟨10.1007/978-3-319-32247-6_7⟩. ⟨halshs-01511843⟩

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