Mention Some of All

  • Paul Dekker


In the interpretation of natural language one may distinguish three types of dynamics: there are the acts or moves that are made; there are structural relations between subsequent moves; and interlocutors reason about the beliefs and intentions of the participants in a particular language game. Building on some of the formalisms developed to account for the first two types of dynamics, I will generalize and formalize Gricean insights into the third type, and show by means of a case study that such a formalization allows a direct account of an apparent ambiguity: the ‘exhaustive’ versus the ‘mention some’ interpretation of questions and their answers. While the principles which I sketch, like those of Grice, are motivated by assumptions of rationality and cooperativity, they do not presuppose these assumptions to be always warranted. Key words: natural language interpretation, dynamic semantics, semantics-pragmatics interface, Gricean pragmatics, epistemic logic, decision theory.
How to Cite
Dekker, P. (2019). Mention Some of All. Proceedings of Sinn Und Bedeutung, 10(1), 85-98.