ERIC Number: ED291260
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1987-Dec
Reference Count: N/A
Semantic Resolution of Discourse Contradiction.
Norrick, Neal R.
A discussion of semantic interpretation argues that contradictions such as "Sue's both right and wrong" are assigned consistent propositional interpretations such as "Sue's partly right and partly wrong" by universal semantic principles, which obviates analysis via conversational maxims and implicatures. First, it is shown from investigation of inconsistencies in transcribed conversations that unintentional contradictions are resolved in repair sequences with three basic strategies: conversationalists modify one term to agree with another; they relativize both terms toward a synthesis; or they assign the contradictory terms to distinct frames of reference. Second, it is demonstrated that these strategies are used to interpret intentional contradictions, based on elicited paraphrases of written paradoxes. The three strategies were found to apply regardless of context and without significant variation for speakers of unrelated languages, suggesting that they represent universal semantic principles rather than pragmatic processing procedures. These principles refute the analysis of discourse contradiction in terms of maxims and implicatures. (Author/MSE)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Linguistic Society of America (San Francisco, CA, December 27-30, 1987).