Semantics and Pragmatics

Biblical Greek morphology and syntax, aspect, linguistics, discourse analysis, and related topics
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Stirling Bartholomew
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Semantics and Pragmatics

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » August 10th, 2017, 5:25 pm

I have been reading too much technical stuff lately and my mind is fogged. No matter how many times I run across the word pragmatic, on some days, I just stop reading at that word and ask what on earth the author is trying to do with that word. Doesn't matter who I am reading, Buth this morning. Aubrey this afternoon. Lots of other authors. The previous attempts at sorting it out[1] don't solve the problem.

Somewhere in the last two days of reading I came across a critique of Rod Decker's aspectology, saying that he talks about a confusion of semantics and pragmatics. The author of the critique claimed that semantics and pragmatics form a continuum where only the extremes at each end are clearly either one or the other.

Now I cannot even relocate that discussion. What seems to be a very simple concept to some just passes me by. I got along just fine for many years without a category called Pragmatics.


[1]
https://koine-greek.com/2017/04/28/dist ... ragmatics/
C. Stirling Bartholomew

MAubrey
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Re: Semantics and Pragmatics

Post by MAubrey » August 10th, 2017, 7:38 pm

Stirling Bartholomew wrote:
August 10th, 2017, 5:25 pm
Somewhere in the last two days of reading I came across a critique of Rod Decker's aspectology, saying that he talks about a confusion of semantics and pragmatics. The author of the critique claimed that semantics and pragmatics form a continuum where only the extremes at each end are clearly either one or the other.
And you can't remember where? I'd like to read that. I definitely agree.
Stirling Bartholomew wrote:
August 10th, 2017, 5:25 pm
Now I cannot even relocate that discussion. What seems to be a very simple concept to some just passes me by. I got along just fine for many years without a category called Pragmatics.
Seems worth setting aside then! :D
Mike Aubrey, Linguist
Koine-Greek.com

Stirling Bartholomew
Posts: 619
Joined: August 9th, 2012, 4:19 pm

Re: Semantics and Pragmatics

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » August 11th, 2017, 2:05 pm

MAubrey wrote:
August 10th, 2017, 7:38 pm
And you can't remember where? I'd like to read that.
Christopher Fresch in his critique of Decker, Cambell on “uncancelable semantic ... vs. pragmatic” see his discussion of Polysemy[1] starts on page 397 and reaches a discourse peak in a Realized Ultimate Reality Footnote[2] on page 400 n77 where we find a quotation from Vyvyan Evans and Melanie Green:2006 [3]
... semanticists do not make a sharp distinction between semantic and pragmatic
knowledge. Knowledge of what words mean and knowledge about how words
are used are both types of ‘semantic’ knowledge, according to this view. This
is why cognitive semanticists study such a broad range of (linguistic and nonlinguistic)
phenomena in comparison to traditional or formal semanticists, and
this also explains why there is no chapter in this book called ‘cognitive pragmatics’.
This is not to say that the existence of pragmatic knowledge is denied.
Instead, cognitive linguists claim that semantic and pragmatic knowledge
cannot be clearly distinguished. As with the lexicon-grammar continuum,
semantic and pragmatic knowledge can be thought of in terms of a continuum.
While there may be qualitative distinctions at the extremes, it is often difficult
in practice to draw a sharp distinction.
If you choose to go with Evens and Green the discussion of “uncancelable semantic vs. pragmatic ” in the greek aspect literature sounds very strange. The eclectic and highly selective borrowing of concepts from linguistics not clearly understood in the publications by NT Greek scholars leads to some really confusing language, notably present in the verb aspect literature.

[1] Christopher Fresch,Typology, Polysemy, and Prototypes: Situating Non-Past Aorist Indicatives
The Greek Verb Revisited: A Fresh Approach for Biblical Exegesis, Lexham Press 2016

[
2] Actually S. Runge has a slightly longer footnote also #77 on page 261-262. RURF an oblique reference to RURP a Chouinard Piton distinguished by its size, roughly the size of razor blade.

[3] Cognitive Linguistics: An Introduction, Vyvyan Evans and Melanie Green, 2006 Edinburgh University Press Ltd, p. 216. PDF avalible, search for it.
C. Stirling Bartholomew

MAubrey
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Re: Semantics and Pragmatics

Post by MAubrey » August 11th, 2017, 7:01 pm

Ah, yes. Chris chapter in GVR is really excellent. He did an excellent job laying out the issues.
Mike Aubrey, Linguist
Koine-Greek.com

Stirling Bartholomew
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Joined: August 9th, 2012, 4:19 pm

Re: Semantics and Pragmatics

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » August 15th, 2017, 12:02 am

I am now reading a good article by R. Buth, one of two contributions he made to the Verb Conference book.
Randall Buth, “Participles as a Pragmatic Choice: Where Semantics Meets Pragmatics
This is worth reading. I got bogged down in details today because he used a future participle as an example so I had to go review the future participle.
C. Stirling Bartholomew

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