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The deferred interpretation of indexicals and its semantic structure

Grant number: 13/24927-6
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): May 01, 2014
Effective date (End): October 31, 2015
Field of knowledge:Linguistics, Literature and Arts - Linguistics - Linguistic Theory and Analysis
Principal researcher:Renato Miguel Basso
Grantee:Jonathan Silva Torres
Home Institution: Centro de Educação e Ciências Humanas (CECH). Universidade Federal de São Carlos (UFSCAR). São Carlos , SP, Brazil

Abstract

Most of the theories about indexicals are based on Kaplan (1989[1972])'s important insights, according to which such items - including first and second person pronouns, the so-called "deictics" and demonstratives used with a pointing gesture - are directly referential, i.e., their sole propositional contribution is an individual. Normally, this individual is precisely the one that is being pointed at in a given context, as defined by Kaplan. However, there is a number of uses of indexicals and demonstratives that do not confirm to this definition; these uses challenge Kaplan's theory. We are interested in the uses that literature treats as "deferred ostension" or "deferred interpretation", which could be exemplified by the famous sentence "The/This ham sandwich is sitting at table 20". In this case, the predicate 'be sitting at table 20' does not apply to the object pointed (i.e, the ham sandwich), but to the costumer who ordered the sandwich. The main objective of this project is to investigate the semantics and pragmatics of such sentences (or uses) and evaluate its impact to theories of indexicals.

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