Colorado Research in Linguistics

Document Type

Working Paper


The meaning of certain utterances is not entirely given by the interpretations of the syntactic and semantic features which are extracted from related linguistic structures. Rather, it is derived from the contexts of discourse in which these utterances are put to use. The verbs of 'giving' in Japanese represent exactly such a phenomena. I will discuss some of the intricate semantic characteristics of these verbs to show that their full description requires a set of pragmatic rules which can define the whole range of relevant contexts for the verbs of 'giving' and account for their meaning in these contexts. It will also be demonstrated that these rules of use will properly constitute part of the semantic description in as much as they can capture some linguistic insight which might be missed without consideration of the pragmatic elements in the context of discourse.

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