What words mean is a matter of what people mean by them


  • Tim Wharton


Associationism, Acquisition, Theory of Mind, Natural Pragmatics, Mindreading


This paper considers the extent to which lexical acquisition is an exercise of an associationist ability, a general mind-reading ability or a specifically pragmatic ability. Particular attention is paid to the role played in word-learning by natural communicative phenomena—gaze direction, facial expression, tone of voice etc.—and to the question of how such behaviours might be accommodated within a pragmatic theory. As well as sketching some possible directions in which future research into the pragmatics of lexical acquisition might proceed I will also suggest, given recent research in relevance theoretic lexical pragmatics, that there are interesting parallels to be drawn between the processes at work in lexical acquisition and those at work in adult comprehension.

Biografia do Autor

Tim Wharton

Senior Lecturer in Linguistics at University of Brighton, England. PhD in Linguistics, University College London, England.



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